Friends, teachers remember Bradenton graduates killed in Peru crash

Manatee County

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – The families and friends of two students are devastated after learning the young men were killed while on a graduation trip.

Zachary Morris and Albert Ales were in Peru celebrating their graduation from Southeast High School when they were hit and killed by a bus.

The young men were described as exceptional students who were loved by everyone. One was going to Yale, the other to UCF. Both were ready to change the world.

For those who knew Albert Ales and Zach Morris, they were the whole package–humorous and smart. 

“They lit up any room that they were in. I mean, come on, the charisma that they came in, the confidence that they had was incredible,” said their friend John Ferguson. 

“Albert was the guy that if you had a problem he was going to fix it,” says Anthony Sevarino. “Zach is just the smartest guy you would ever see. He was so confident in his speaking.”

Not only did they impress their peers and teachers, they also got the attention of UCF, Yale, and Navy recruits.

“Not only is it a great loss for us, it’s a great loss to our country. These young men they exemplified the best in what our school can produce and what our state can produce. They were the best,” said Richard Platt, their engineering teacher. 

Their future plans were tragically cut short Friday when a bus slammed into their scooter while they were exploring Peru. Morris and Ales hadn’t been in the country more than three hours before they were killed. 

“When you find out about it you’re just numb by it. You know Zach’s mom and I were texting back and forth, and that was tough. It was tough. I had to go outside and take a walk,” Platt added. 

Albert and Zack always looked to give back to their community, helping their teacher build machines that mass produce toys for poor kids around the world.

“They picked up the phone one day and called Google and got one of the top vice presidents at Google and they wrote us a check for $16,000 dollars,” their teacher said. 

Now facing a future without their best friends, those who knew them best say Albert and Zach influenced them forever.

“They wanted to live life to the fullest. So I’ve figured that’s how I’m going to live the rest of my life too,” said Ferguson. 

The amount of love and support from the community and friends is phenomenal. The students here are hoping to honor their friends by wearing Hawaiian shirts to school on Tuesday.

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