Enzo Alvarenga would DJ for parties.
They weren’t the typical parties that a teen might be expected to attend, though. They were parties for elementary schoolers — hosted by Alvarenga’s former teachers at Lycée Rochambeau, the French International School in Bethesda.
Carlos Alvarenga, Enzo’s father, said Tuesday morning the 18-year-old’s family didn’t know that Alvarenga would volunteer to help younger students until they spoke with his former teachers Monday, five days after the teen was struck and killed riding his bicycle along Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda.
At the time, Enzo Alvarenga was heading from his mother’s house to his father’s home a few blocks away in Bethesda for dinner on June 1, Carlos Alvarenga said. According to Montgomery County police, his bicycle went off the sidewalk and he was struck by a white 2012 Ford F-250 Cargo van at approximately 4:09 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver remained at the scene, according to police. There are no updates in the investigation of the collision, police said Tuesday.
Born in Washington, D.C., Alvarenga had spent his entire life in Bethesda, his father said. He was one of three or four students in his grade who attended Rochambeau from age 3 until their graduation in 2021.
At the time of his death, Alvarenga was a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He played the piano and wrote poetry, according to Carlos Alvarenga. He cared for his younger brother, 14-year-old Dino, who is autistic.
“He was a quietly empathetic and generous person,” Carlos Alvarenga said.
Carlos Alvarenga, a writer, said his son had an “international background” — Enzo’s mother, Patricia Bibes, is from Argentina while Carlos is from El Salvador. Alvarenga spoke English, Spanish and French. The family traveled abroad to Europe and South America.
“It was one of the unexpected things of this life that a child who had grown up traveling the world and who spoke three languages, when it came time to go to college, decided to go to college 20 minutes away from his home,” Carlos Alvarenga said.
At Maryland, Enzo Alvarenga covered soccer as a video reporter for The Left Bench, a student-run organization about University of Maryland sports. The group’s TV staff produce a biweekly show with the latest updates on the Terrapins.
Kevin McNulty, a rising senior journalism student and executive producer of The Left Bench, said he remembers Alvarenga going to the broadcast studio to help with every show.
“He was always the best dressed. He had an impeccable sense of style,” McNulty said. “You couldn’t walk by Enzo without noticing what he was wearing because it was always something cool.”
McNulty described Alvarenga as a “worldly guy” and a “well-rounded person” with an appreciation for art, music and culture who would frequent comedy clubs in the District.
He said he thinks Alvarenga gravitated towards covering soccer because of how universal it is.
“If he really stuck with it and wanted to cover soccer, it would have taken him some tremendous places,” McNulty said.
Mark Hyman, director of the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at Merrill, described Alvarenga as an “exceptional” young man with a “truly impressive” flair and sense of purpose.
“He was on his way to becoming a fine sports journalist,” Hyman wrote in an email. “It’s a heartbreaking loss.”
The Povich Center sponsored a networking trip to New York for six of its “most accomplished” students in April, according to Hyman. Students met leaders at SiriusXM, HBO Real Sports and the National Hockey League.
Five of the students were upperclassmen and graduate students. Alvarenga was the only freshman.
“It was an intense experience and would have been daunting for many underclassmen,” Hyman wrote. “Enzo was not awed or intimidated in the slightest. He loved it. He asked great questions and contributed to the conversation at each meeting.”
Alvarenga’s parents plan to attend the Merrill college commencement in 2025, when Alvarenga would have graduated. His family aims to set up a foundation in his name to help underprivileged students pursue sports journalism at Merrill, Carlos Alvarenga said.
“We hope to be in the audience in 2025, and we hope that there will be a young person who will say, ‘One of the reasons why I’m here is because of a young man named Enzo Alvarenga, and the legacy of his death is that I was able to finish what he started,’ ” Carlos Alvarenga said.
Alvarenga is survived by his father, Carlos Alvarenga; his mother, Patricia Bibes; his brother, Dino; and his stepmom, Dima Hammoud.
Alvarenga’s family will hold a public funeral service at St. Augustine’s Church in Washington at 11 a.m. Thursday. A livestream is available here.
Christine Zhu of Gaithersburg, a rising junior at the University of Maryland who is studying journalism and Spanish, is the Bethesda Beat summer intern.