The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Sonoma State mourns the loss of two students as semester begins

    issue 1 photo alondra .jpg

    issue 1 photo luis .jpg

    Sonoma State University mourns the devastating loss of two students who died in January, Alondra Bandt and Luis Cid. 

    Alondra Bandt 

    According to the Santa Rosa area California Highway Patrol, Alondra Bandt, 21, was driving herself and her mother, to the Santa Rosa DMV at 8:20 a.m. on Jan. 4, when their black Nissan Sentra lost control on Highway 12 and veered into the path of a white Chevrolet truck. 

    The truck was driven by Michael Williams, 60, from Santa Rosa. Bandt and her mother were both pronounced dead on the scene while Williams was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

    It is believed that the rainy weather conditions that day and a lack of tire traction on the vehicle were both factors contributing to the Nissan’s loss of control.

    In an article written by Christina Kallen for the Sonoma Index-Tribune, Santa Rosa CHP spokesman officer David DeRutte said that officers who arrived at the scene noticed that the back tires of the vehicle had very little traction compared to the front wheels.   

    Bandt was a 21-year-old fourth-year Art & Humanities student at SSU on track to complete her last year and graduate with her Bachelors Degree in Spanish. In the Dean’s message to the university about the accident, Dr. Jeffrey Reeder writes that Bandt was “a ray of light brightening all of our lives, she was always wonderful and kind, and her presence lifted the spirits of those around her. Alondra had great hopes, dreams, and plans for the future – she was planning on continuing her education in graduate school as well as fulfilling her dreams of traveling and living abroad in Spain.” The Dean’s message also states that Bandt will be receiving a posthumous degree for her accomplishments.  

    Bandt married her husband, Omar Pineda, exactly a month before her passing. He described her in an email saying, “Alondra always fought exceptionally to achieve her goals. She wanted to be a professor of politics and history, she was very passionate about that. Her scholarships backed her up. She always figured out how to keep smiling and fighting. Alondra is the best person I have ever known. That’s why I fell in love with her and decided to join my life with hers. We had a ton of plans together, I just don’t know how I will handle my life without her. I will keep her in my heart and love her forever.”   

    In an article written by Nashelly Chavez for The Press Democrat, Bandt’s 14-year-old sister, Kassandra Bandt, says Bandt had “ambitions to teach other college-aged students and to travel the world.” In the same article Bandt’s grandmother, Claudia Bandt said, “Her whole thought process was to study and study to get her family ahead.”

    Bandt’s mother, Tomasa Valero Vargas, 44, affectionately known to her family as “Tomy”, was a seamstress for Bright Event Rentals in Sonoma. Claudia Bandt describes Tomasa as a mother who had a close bond with her three children who she enjoyed taking on outings, “Tomy wanted to work to help her family.”

    Just weeks after Bandt’s death the Seawolf community experienced the tragic loss of another student, Luis Cid (Balderas). 

    Luis Cid (Balderas)

    Luis Cid (Balderas) was a junior in Sonoma State’s prelicensure nursing program and passed away Jan. 21, on his 28th birthday. 

    While the exact details of his death are still unknown, a GoFundme page has been created in his memory to celebrate his life and accomplishments. Contributors to the GoFundme page called Cid, “a beautiful young man”, “bright and gifted” and “one of the most kind, caring, and giving people [they had] ever met.”

    Contributor Latifa Lovelyn Chandler commented, “Luis you were on of the most kind, caring, and giving people I ever met. You always had a hand to help and a smile to share!” 

    Another contributor, Charlie Evans, described Luis as “An incredible young man with so much potential. He was kind, compassionate, efficient and loving to his patients. When I came on shift and saw Luis he would look me in the eye with a smile and his expression was one of “this is going to be a good day.” To the parents and family of Luis, I must say you hit the ball out of the park. I am so sorry for his accident and can’t imagine how difficult this must be to comprehend. I wish you the best.”     

    In the last six days since its creation, Luis’ GoFundme page has surpassed the $10,000 goal raising $17,897 with 176 donors and over 580 shares.  

    In the wake of these losses, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Wm. Gregory Sawyer reminded the SSU community, “The death of a student is always difficult to understand and accept. Please take care of yourself and those around you.” and expressed his sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the deceased on behalf of the community.

    The university also wants to remind students and faculty that counseling support is available either through the SSU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (707) 664-2153, or the SSU Employee Assistance Program.  If you or anyone you know is experiencing distress or aware of someone in distress, please do not hesitate to contact CAPS, the SSU CARE Team, or the Office of the Dean of Students.  

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