Montgomery Blair High School. Credit: G. Edward Johnson

A Montgomery Blair High School senior died unexpectedly on the evening of May 3, according to a letter sent to the Blair community on Friday.

Blair’s acting principal, Tracy Pettis-Jones, wrote to families Friday afternoon to inform them of Karen Lopez Vasquez’s death and express her condolences to Vasquez’s loved ones. A Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson was unable to provide context regarding the nature or cause of Vasquez’s death.

“It is very difficult for all of us to face the death of a young person,” Pettis-Jones wrote to Blair families. “I know you join me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to Karen’s family. When we receive word regarding the family’s wishes, I will share the information with you.”

She added that school psychologists, counselors and pupil personnel workers will be available for students in need of mental health services related to Vasquez’s death.

Blair principal Renay Johnson took to Twitter on Thursday evening to share her sympathies.

“We are devastated by the loss of […] our beloved Blazer just weeks before graduation,” Johnson wrote. “Please help and support her family with funds for her memorial services.”


Johnson shared a link to a GoFundMe page organized by Edgar David Vasquez-Cabrera to pay for funeral expenses. As of the time of this article’s publication, the fundraiser has raised $885. According to the description, Lopez was on track to graduate in June.

“Karen was a hard-working young woman who was dedicated to her academics and supporting her family,” the fundraiser description reads. “Her commitment to herself, her family, and her future was unwavering. […] She had plans to attend college and become a registered certified nurse, a testament to her commitment to helping others. She was taken far too early from us, and needless to say this has devastated her family.”

Montgomery Blair High’s graduation ceremony is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. on June 1 on the school’s campus. It will feature Maryland’s recently-elected Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller as keynote speaker.