May began as a month of celebrations and honors for Amerie Jo Garza of Uvalde, Texas. On the 10th, she celebrated her tenth birthday — the golden one. The following week, she took part in a “bridging ceremony” as a Junior Girl Scout. And on the morning of May 24 she received a certificate for earning a place on the A-B honor roll at Robb Elementary School.
Shortly after the school’s awards ceremony, Amerie was shot and killed in her classroom as she used her new cell phone — a birthday present — to call 911 in an attempt to save her classmates. Amerie died alongside 18 other children as well as two teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia.
Days later, she received one final honor. Girl Scouts of the USA awarded Amerie a bronze cross, one of its highest honors, “for saving or attempting to save life at the risk of the Girl Scout’s own life,” according to the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas.
“Amerie did all she could to save the lives of her classmates and teachers,” the Girl Scouts shared on Twitter on Tuesday. “It was our honor as Amerie’s council to present the Bronze Cross to her family, and Girl Scouts will continue to pay tribute at her funeral services today with a Presentation of Colors.”
“We will carry her story with us always and ensure her brave actions will endure for generations,” the Girl Scouts wrote.
To those who knew and loved her, it came as no surprise the Amerie spent her last moments trying to help others. She was known as a devoted, loving older sister to her little brother, who she remembered to kiss every morning before she left for school, her grandmother, Berlinda Arreola, told People.
In 2021, Amerie received the Gold Heart award at her school. David Treviño, Amerie’s cousin, told the Texas Tribune that Amerie came to his daughter’s aid when she was being teased by classmates. “She would stick up for her for the bullies to stop picking on her,” he told the Tribune.
Mourners to her visitation and her funeral at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde came bearing purple flowers and wearing purple — Amerie’s favorite color. The 10-year-old, described as “sassy,” loved swimming and drawing and “hated dresses.” She liked to eat Chick-Fil-A and vanilla bean frappuchinos from Starbucks. She hoped to grow up to become an art teacher.