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METROLINK COLLISION : AIDA MAGDALENO

Cal State Northridge student was daughter of farmworkers

September 17, 2008|Cara Mia DiMassa

Aida Magdaleno was the youngest of five children born to Leticia and Juvental Magdaleno, farmworkers who dreamed of a better life for their children.

Magdaleno, 19, was on her way to realizing her parents' dream.

But no longer. She was among those killed Friday in the Metrolink train crash in Chatsworth.

A 2007 graduate of Moorpark High School, Magdaleno had spent her summers taking classes at Moorpark Community College and doing volunteer work in her free time. She was two weeks into her sophomore year at Cal State Northridge, where she was majoring in sociology.

She and her older sister, Gabriella, had plans to eventually buy their parents a house as a way of repaying all the sacrifices they had made for their children.

"She cared about everyone," said her older brother, Juan Magdaleno, 33. "She had an aura. She was very pure at heart."

Aida Magdaleno's high school required 150 hours of community service, her brother said, but she far surpassed that requirement. She helped out at meetings of the Moorpark Unified School District and worked as a "reading buddy" to young children in the Moorpark-Simi Valley First Five program.

"She just really enjoyed what she did," said Sandi Lane, coordinator of the Moorpark Family Resource Center, where Magdaleno worked for about a year. "She helped nourish the love of reading in young children. Every time she was with a child or two children, she always commented on how much fun it was, even if the children challenged her a bit."

Magdaleno was traveling home on the train Friday to Camarillo, where her parents now live, to attend the baptism of her 6-month-old nephew. She had left the Northridge station on an early train because she hoped to spend "a little quality time" with her nephew, Juan Magdaleno said.

After the train crash, Magdaleno's sister Gabriella searched through the night to find her. It wasn't until the next day that the family found out she had been killed.

-- Cara Mia DiMassa

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