Family, friends carry on after recent tragedy

Last year Sam Houston State University students and faculty lost a fellow Bearkat. The memorial of Rachel Pendray continued when friends and family gathered in her honor for a candlelight vigil just three days after her death.

Students packed the LSC Ballroom on Dec. 6 to pay their final respects to Pendray and her family. The vigil featured a slideshow of pictures and good times shared with Pendray, as well as several testimonials by those closest to her.

One friend recalled a time when she dressed up as a hobo for Halloween, expressing how funny and sweet her personality really was.

A friend of the Pendray family followed with a letter thanking Rachel’s friends for being so supportive during such a difficult ordeal.

A leader from the Chi Alpha Fellowship, an organization she was very much involved in, also made an appearance at the vigil, with the attempt to leave all who knew her with the comfort and peace of knowing she is in a better place.

The candlelight vigil continued with the ceremonious lighting of the candles. The sorority she was involved in, Zeta Tau Alpha, also sang a traditional ZTA song in her remembrance.

The candlelight vigil was a simple thing that could be done for Rachel Pendray, but it left a lasting impression on the students of this campus. Those who attended could not help but become emotional by seeing the images of a fellow fallen student and hearing words of friends who will miss her dearly.

Sarah Sheffield, Pendray’s friend since childhood who attended the vigil, said the ceremony was beautiful.

“There were a lot of people, and I got to meet a lot of her friends here,” she said. “I thought everyone was very well-spoken, and it was beautiful with all of the flowers and candles.”

With the holidays and what would have been Rachel’s 21st birthday on Jan. 1 already past us, Sheffield said the passing of the holidays was especially hard this year.

“I’m used to spending every holiday with Rachel,” said Sheffield. “Unfortunately, this year we were unable to be together.”

Sheffield said that Rachel’s family and friends were planning to frame her cheerleading outfits from both high school and college and send them in the respective schools. Since her passing, a scholarship fund has also been set up in her honor.

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