She was like a little sister to the brothers of Gamma Phi Sigma Fraternity Inc. With her beautiful smile, she made everyone else around her happy. She was charismatic, full of life and didn’t miss anything.
Though Ciara Deprill’s life came to an abrupt end on Feb. 4, her friends and those who knew her said they would never forget the 19 year old.
Bracing the winter chill last Friday, Deprill’s friends gathered for a candlelight vigil at the Bell Tower to remember her. Some wore T-shirts emblazoned with Deprill’s picture on the front and the words “You’ll forever be missed and known for your beautiful smile” on the back.
Companions of Deprill talked about the life she lived and the impact she had on the lives of those she considered her friends. Her friends talked about the abruptness of life and how they could learn from Deprill’s passing.
Opening the ceremony, Erick McNair, a freshman, sang a capella the Boyz II Men rendition of the Beatles’ classic “Yesterday.”
Eric Cortes, a member of Gamma Phi Sigma who was a friend of Deprill, met her a year and a half ago at a get together. He said Deprill would often frequent events hosted by his fraternity. The night of the accident, Cortes was only three or four cars behind the car Deprill was riding in.
“I never would have thought in my lifetime I would’ve seen something like that,” Cortes said last week.
“She would always be happy and never got mad. She brought happiness to everyone,” he said.
Joanna Plazas, a friend of Deprill who met her last September, organized and led the vigil. “Ciara was real … very caring, always made sure I was OK,” said Plazas, a freshman biology major.
Simone Turner, one of Deprill’s suitemates in Elmira Jeffries residence hall, could not be at the vigil, but wrote a letter to Deprill, which Plazas read.
Turner recalled Deprill’s “infectious smile” and the last words she said to her on Feb. 2 when they both walked out of the door: “See you later.”
Sergio Claudio, a recent graduate and member of Gamma Phi Sigma, spoke on behalf of his fraternity. Claudio said in Ciara’s passing, he would remember the “smiles she gave and the off-the-wall comments. She was a fun girl, always in a good mood, trying to get to know everyone.
“She looked up to us a lot,” he said, holding back tears.
The loss of Deprill, Claudio said, “left an emptiness that cannot be replaced.”
“Death is a message that life is too short,” he said.
“People who we have juvenile problems with [today] can be gone tomorrow.”
Though Frances Marte did not know Deprill very well, she said she met her at a couple of gatherings and will remember her “smile and her silliness.”
After the ceremony, many of Deprill’s friends huddled around the candles and flowers, hugging each other as some cried.
For Plazas, Deprill was more than a friend. She was a sister. “You were my adviser and I was yours,” Plazas said, reading her final note to her friend.
This week, Gamma Phi Sigma will host a Valentine’s Day party and some of the proceeds from the event will be donated to Deprill’s family in her memory.
Charmie R. Snetter can be reached at email@example.com.