"He was such an amazing person, words can't even describe how awesome he was," said Sara Anderson of her brother, Stephen Anderson, who died in a scuba diving accident April 9 in Monterey, Calif. "I just want everyone to remember his smile and how happy he always was."
Juniors Keegan Aiazzi and Stephen Anderson went on a Monterey diving trip last week. On Saturday, during a second dive, the best friends were separated from the larger group and didn't come up from their dive, according to officials who were at the site.
"You couldn't talk to him without him bringing up the trip," Sara said. "He was so happy."
The news of her baby brother's passing didn't come easy. She came home from college before Stephen's trip to surprise her boyfriend, Adam Whitt, a CHS senior.
Her parents didn't think it was a good idea, but she said she just had a feeling. Little did she know she would be getting a call that would forever change her life.
While waiting for her boyfriend at a baseball game, Sara got the call that Stephen and Keegan had not surfaced with their group.
"Adam came out from his game and we were talking about the game and then I just said, 'Keegan and Stephen didn't come up from the dive.' I just lost it. I remember Adam telling me everything was going to be OK, and they probably just found something cool under there, and they were going to be mad that they were in trouble because of it."
About a half-hour later, she said, her mom called to say the boys were being taken to the hospital.
"I just remember saying to myself, 'They'll come back. They're strong, young football players. They will make it. They'll come back.'"
Minutes passed and Sara said she didn't know what to think or do.
"I went into Adam's room with his parents and said a prayer. I wasn't scared; I knew he was going to be OK."
When she got the second call from her mom, she anticipated good news.
"Then, she just told me that they were gone," Sara said. "I just remember yelling at her, telling her it couldn't be my baby brother. She had to be lying; there was no way."
After the news got out, the CHS baseball team called Whitt and said they were coming over.
"The baseball team came and just sat and watched TV with me to try and get things off my mind," she said. "I stayed with the Whitts that night, and I still just couldn't believe that my brother wasn't coming home with my parents the next day."
Sara attends the University of Utah and is studying biology with career plans of becoming a pharmacist.
"I went home that night because I had to let the dog out. It was so hard seeing both of their cars in front of my house. I went into Stevo's bedroom, and I just cried knowing he was never gonna be in there again."
Sara said she loves all the support from her friends and family. She loves what CHS is doing to remember her baby brother and his best friend.
"People sit here and tell me like, 'Your brother was so awesome.' But really they have no idea how awesome he was to me," she said. "I feel bad that people didn't get to know him as well as I did. My family loved him, everyone loved Stevo. I just wish I could touch half as many lives as he did. I wish I could be half the person he was."
Even though Sara wasn't home all the time because she was going to school, she remembers the first time she met Keegan.
"Every time I would come home, there was always this green car outside of my house," she recalled. "Every time I came over, he was always there. It was always Stephen and Keegan. It was like Keegan was a part of my family; he was always over, always around, so nice."
Sara said she had some things she wanted to say to her baby brother, if she had the chance.
"Just that I love him, and that he was the best brother to me. And I couldn't have asked for anything more. And probably that I was sorry for picking on him so much when we were little."
Sara has been trying to stay as strong as she can for her family.
"I'm trying to stay strong for them. I know it's so hard for them. I mean, it's so hard for me, and he was just my brother. That's their child, and he was Stevo! You couldn't have asked for a better kid in anybody.
"I just miss his hugs. He would always give me a good hug first and then squeeze me and try and make me suffocate, and I would always try to get out of it. It's just like nothing can ever replace those memories, and I'll never forget just how awesome he was. He was the most loving person you could ever imagine. It just doesn't get much better than him."
People have been sending messages to Sara, she said, in any way possible, and she loves it.
"People tell me stories, and I can imagine exactly how he was acting, talking, standing, what he was doing with his hands. It's just so weird they're gone."
Sara was supposed to head back to Utah on Sunday, but she said she will be here until the end of next week .
"I wanna be here for him and everybody. If anyone wants to hear stories or wants me to listen, I just like talking to people, and the people who knew him," she said. "I'm just so glad I was home and got to say good-bye to him. I'm so glad I gave him a hug. I couldn't have asked for a better brother."
• Kellcy Bell, 15, is a sophomore at Carson High School and editor of Senator News. To read the full story, go to thesenatornews.word