Senior Osman Sernas Passes Away at 17 Years Old

Julia Escobar, Editor-in-Chief

Reading Time: 3 minutes

On April 6, Osman Sernas, a senior of Venice High School died after suffering injuries in a car accident on April 2. May 1 would have been his 18th birthday. 

“He was the type of person that lived day by day and lived each day the way he wanted to,” said friend Joseph Silva. He loved going on adventures with friends, no matter how big or small. One of his biggest passions was working out.  

“He loved working out,” said Silva. “He was at the gym like 75% of the time.”

Teammate and friend Jonathan Tejada was one of the people that pushed Sernas in the weight room and guided him through his fitness journey. 

“He would tell me every day how much he appreciated me and how I inspired him,” said Tejeda. “I eventually helped him reach his goal, which was to bench press 225 pounds. I remember he hugged me the day he hit it. It was a moment I would never forget. He inspires me every day. He inspired me the first day we worked out together.” 

Sernas was a member of the junior varsity football team for three years and was well respected and well-liked by coaches and teammates. 

The grieving process has been complicated by the quarantine and social distancing measures that arose from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s incredibly sad and shocking,” said his football coach Angelo Gasca. “And to not be able to be around all the other people who loved him and cared about him at school makes it even harder to get through. I hope someday we [the football team] are all back together. We can talk about our feelings and how much Osman meant to all of us, and recognize him and all the other young men who I’ve known that have unfortunately passed away.” Sernas’  energy was what drove people toward him and what many will always remember him by. 

Osman Sernas #5 on the football field.

“I want people to remember him by how unique he was,” said Silva. “I don’t think I’ll ever meet anyone that can match or even get near his energy. It’s hard to explain him because being his friend was an experience. His mindset and the way he saw things was one of a kind.”

Students who grew up with him shared experiences they had over the years, “I met him in cadets when I was 12,” said senior Mateo Holguin. “He was younger than me by a month, but it always seemed like he was years older than me. He was a leader right off the bat and when he was given the chance he ranked up very fast. He became one of my best friends in that program and we experienced many details together, working at Dodger games, color guard, walking in parades, helping as security, and helping train riot police. When we got older we didn’t see each other as much but when we did it was like no time passed at all.”

His teachers and the classroom experiences were lightened by his presence. On the virtual memoriam created on Padlet (Click here) by the Venice High’s Social Emotional Learning Team, teachers shared their memory of Serna.

“He was one of the warmest lights in that class,” said his 10th grade English teacher Ms. Hazel Witham. “Osman offered a vibrant, generous energy to our community, always feeding our discussions with thoughtful ideas and connections. He was funny, in a sincere, unfiltered, sweet, goofy, sometimes self-effacing style, and he used his humor to enliven a lesson, an activity, a community circle or a class debate.”

Even teachers who didn’t have him as a student remember the small moments where they crossed paths. Government teacher Mr.Ahsan Minhas wrote on the padlet that he remembered the smile that Sernas would greet him with whenever he would pass by his class and say hello.

“I only wish I had the opportunity to express my gratitude for it.” wrote Mr. Minhas. “I am only left with memories of a bright, kind young man, and a reminder that often the smallest, most fleeting moments in life can be meaningful and cherished well beyond proportion.”

Sernas’  GoFundMe page describes what he meant to many.

“He was the type of person to help you out in your time of need and would go on adventures with his friends and make you laugh about everything. Osman is in a better place and although we will miss him and remember him, he would not want us to be upset. He would simply laugh and say “God’s plan.”

In light of the current quarantine, his family has asked members of the community to light a candle on his birthday, May 1, and pray for him. 

If you would like to share a memory, story or photo of Osman you can do so on his padlet:

To donate to Serna’s family during this difficult time, please visit his GoFundMe page: rcid=e9d84ef9a5a04a4b85af322cbd00d311