NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — Alyssa Altobelli was remembered Thursday for her big smile, infectious laugh, and her hopes of one day playing basketball for the University of Oregon.
Students from Ensign Intermediate School, where 14-year-old Alyssa was an 8th grader, their parents and mourners filled Mariners Park for a candlelight vigil four days after she died in the helicopter crash that also killed her father, Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli, her mom Keri, and NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, and Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who was also Alyssa’s teammate.
“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary,” one student read.
Mourners wore green and yellow, in honor of Alyssa’s dream of becoming an Oregon Duck. She was also known as an animal lover and friends fondly remembered the time she took home turtles from her classroom that she thought were being mistreated.
The skies were pink and gold from the setting sun as forlorn students held lit candles. Nine lanterns were launched into the air to honor the victims of the helicopter crash.
The school’s No. 5 jersey, which Alyssa wore as a basketball player, was retired. Alyssa had wanted to be a veterinarian.