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Remembering Tristan Vessel: Bronco Traditions

Whether you remember Tristan’s smile, Monday and Wednesday morning donut runs, or his ability to make you feel special, Tristan Vessel’s legacy lives on in the hearts of students and staff at Zachary High.
Tristan’s hard work in high school paid off when he received a scholarship to the University of Texas. He was set to attend college after he graduated from Zachary High.

His Legacy 

Born September 28, 2004, Tristan Vessel immediately became the light of Jennifer Del Murray’s life, his mother. His laugh could brighten up any room, and he was always trying to lift everyone’s spirits. Tristan lived in Zachary his whole life until his passing on April 13, 2022.  From an early age, Tristan was extremely devoted to being the best version of himself as he possibly could be. He earned his black belt in karate in 3rd grade, was a skilled cellist, played basketball, and was even on three different swim teams at once! Tristan eventually realized his passion for swimming, giving up the rest of his extracurriculars to focus on developing his skills in the treacherous sport.  

Alongside his progress in swimming, Tristan also focused heavily on academics, maintaining an A/B honor roll throughout his 12 years of schooling in Zachary Community Schools. He loved to stay up late with his friends, Tyler Mabury, Nicholas Funk (12), Luke Parks (12), and Jesse Griffith (12), playing video games and chatting. When attending Zachary High, Tristan was a part of the ZHS National Honors Society and National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). 

One of Tristan’s most important life goals was to always strive for his best, whether that be in his academics, swimming, or simply to be an amazing person. He was always determined to make a positive impact on the people and environment around him. Whatever challenge came his way, he was always able to overcome it while always smiling. 

“He was extremely hard working, whether that be with grades, athletics, or being an amazing swimmer. He was the most one-of-a-kind person ever, and you’re never going to meet a person quite like him.” Luke Parks (12) said.

Swim Team Traditions

After completing their “endless 50’s” at practice, the Zachary High swim team poses for a photo, showcasing themselves in the formation of Tristan’s initials, an idea David Gaines (12) thought of.

During practice on Thursday, September 28, Tristan’s birthday, the ZHS swim team honored Tristan’s time on the team by doing one of his favorite sets. Titled “endless 50s,” swimmers have a certain amount of time to complete an interval. Once reaching the end of the pool, if a swimmer has some extra time, meaning they completed their interval early, they get to rest for a couple of seconds before going back out there and swimming another interval. Swimmers repeat this cycle until the allotted time for the set has finished, allowing them to get in multiple reps, which can help improve endurance and help swimmers see if they’re improving on their speed.

Tristan loved this set because it tested how resilient he was in swimming. He loved pushing himself and was determined to improve every time he practiced. Swimming was one of the most important things in Tristan’s life, so he devoted much time to perfecting his techniques and styles. Tristan loved his swim team, fellow swimmers, and coaches, who always pushed him and encouraged him to go above and beyond.

“I think Tristan would be really proud of a lot of us. You know, I was just a freshman when I was on the team with him, so I was always looking up to him, and he was always me and my friends about our strokes and stuff.” Maddy Snyder (11) said.

“I think he would want them to know how great they can be. He would tell them, ‘Do or do not. There is no try!’ He would tell them to dream big and go for it.” Julie Peveto, the ZHS swim coach, said.

Tristan’s parking sport after being decorated recently for his 19th birthday.

Honoring the Spot!

At his memorial service that was held following his passing almost two years ago, students, staff, and friends also adorned that same parking spot during that time. It serves as a reminder to everyone that Tristan was a beloved student at Zachary High and that everyone missed when that spot was occupied with his car.

At his memorial service that was held following his passing almost two years ago, students, staff, and friends also adorned that same parking spot during that time. It serves as a reminder to everyone that Tristan was a beloved student at Zachary High and that everyone missed when that spot was occupied with his car.





Forever Friendships!

Tristan Vessel (Front) and his best friend, Tyler Mabury (Back), celebrate their friend, Luke Parks (12), birthday a month before Tristan’s passing.

Tristan loved to spend time with friends. To him, friends were everything and who mattered most to him; he always kept close. Although he

was friends with so many people, he always made time in his busy schedule to spend time with each and every one of them. When he heard it was one of his friends’ birthdays, he would bring them candy or donuts just to make them feel special and loved. 


“My favorite memory of Tristan is when we all piled in his car and went over to his best friend Tyler’s house to surprise him for his birthday. We had like a sleepover just playing games and hanging out, which was really fun. He was very hard working too, he was taking all of these hard classes his senior year, and he was still hanging out with us pretty much all the time.” said Nicholas Funk (12).

Tristan’s friends (from left to right): Luke Parks (12), Elijah Bertrand, Nevaeh White, Jesse Griffith (12), Tyler Mabury, and Nicholas Funk (12), remember Tristan’s impact on their lives during his memorial service held at Zachary High in 2021.

Tristan Vessel was and is still such an important part of Zachary High’s legacy. His bright smile, gorgeous swimming techniques, and lighthearted laugh will forever remain in the hearts of the staff and students at Zachary High. Happy 19th birthday, Tristan! 

“I’ll always remember his smile, which could make everybody else in the area smile too. He was such a great friend and I’ll always remember him and how he was always there for me. I love and miss him a ton. Happy birthday, bro.” said Jesse Griffith (12) 






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Kara Griffith
Kara Griffith, Online Staff Writer
Kara Griffith (10) is a Staff Writer for the The Hoofprint Online news. She is a flautist in the Band of Blue Marching Band and Wind Symphony. She is in Talented Art and Beta Club. She loves to paint, draw, watch anime, and cuddle with her black cat, Mabel.
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