In Memoriam: Julian Urbina-Medina

Family, friends reflect on student’s life


Julian Urbina-Medina’s freshman yearbook portrait (photo courtesy of Visual Image Photography).

Evelyn Kowalski, Editor-in-Chief

Beloved son, brother, and friend, Julian Urbina-Medina ‘26, will be remembered for his caring, thoughtful demeanor, and as a young person who touched everyone he met. On Aug. 28, just as his first year of high school began, Urbina-Medina was hit by a car and killed at the intersection of La Grange Road and 55th Street around 6:30 p.m. He was biking on his way home from a visit with his grandmother. 

Fourteen-year-old Julian was the son of Maribel Medina and Adalberto Urbina, and beloved brother to three sisters.

His sister, Samantha Urbina-Medina ‘24, is two years older than him, and remembers making videos with him when they were younger.

“He was very happy,” Samantha said. “He never saw the bad side of people. We were really close and bonds like those are what held us together.”

Julian was eager to start high school, according to his mother. He played soccer recreationally with friends and cousins, and also through Gurrie Middle School. He planned on joining the boy’s LT soccer team. 

“He loved anything about cars,” Medina said. “I know when he went to co-curricular night, he came home and was like: ‘I’m going to join the auto club,’ and was super excited for high school.”

He planned on being an automotive engineer when he grew up, and his favorite subjects always concerned science or math, Medina said. One of his favorite pastimes was playing video games. His favorite one, “Rocket League”, combined two of his interests: cars and soccer. 

Though he was short in stature, that never held him back from anything, his mom said. He was a protective older brother to his 8-year-old sister, Isabella Urbina-Medina, and was always looking out for his older sisters, too. He spent a lot of time out with friends; his confidence never dwindled. 

Luca Paganis ‘26 befriended Julian through mutual friends at their middle school. From there, they bonded very closely. 

He was one of the most charismatic kids that I knew,” Paganis said. “Not only did he love making people laugh, [but] he also made it pretty clear to me and my friends that he had an admiration for football, and just running around in general. Being one of his close friends was truly an honor to me.” 

Paganis wrote a song, titled “julian,” in honor of Urbina-Medina’s life. It can be found on any streaming platform. He loved joking around with Julian and giving him piggyback rides in their gym class. On occasion, along with friends, Paganis will visit Julian’s memorial near the site of his passing. Additionally, Paganis spoke at the memorial services, which was an integral part of the healing process, he said. He spoke of a time where Julian helped him through a point where he was feeling lost, and closed out his speech with, “larga vida Julián,” meaning, “long-live Julian,” in Spanish. 

A memory that stuck out to his mom emphasized Julian’s selflessness, she said. 

“He used up all of his money, he didn’t have a lot of it, to buy me a gift for Christmas,” Medina said. “I wasn’t expecting it. It was a beautiful Disney necklace with the letter ‘M’ on it. It was part of the selfless things that he would do.” 

Medina does not consider herself a religious person, but rather a spiritual one, she said. She uses coping mechanisms, such as meditation and journaling, and often visits his grave. 

Julian volunteered at the Leadershop in Western Springs. He was a Cubs fan, and liked Post Malone’s music. 

He and his older sister would spend a lot of time playing video games such as “Call of Duty” together. Recalling memories like these is part of the grieving process for Samantha. 

“I distract myself because I work,” Samantha said. “Work helps a lot. So does spending time with my siblings, my friends, and my mom.” 

Being only two years apart offered the siblings a special bond. 

“We played together a lot when we were younger,” she said. “We used to have this trampoline and we would jump on it every day for hours. We used to do everything together. He was funny and so random.”

His family was overwhelmed with support at the time of his passing, Medina said. 

“You know, you don’t come to find out a lot of things about your son until after [his passing] and I’m just overwhelmed by the amount of support and caring people still out there that were there for my son,” Medina said. “As a parent, to see that your son was able to affect this many people just shows what a caring young boy he was.”

Note: The LTHS counseling department offers services to students who are adversely affected by tragedy. Counselors are currently offering a group for students impacted by grief that meets weekly at South Campus. Students who feel they could benefit from additional support should reach out to their counselors.