Candlelight illuminated the solemn faces of friends and fellow classmates Sunday night while they gathered at Panda Park to celebrate and remember the life of 21-year-old Carlene Ho, a University student who drowned in Summit Lake in Klamath County on Sept. 17.
A slideshow of photos featuring Ho and friends ran throughout the ceremony – most of which featured a smiling young lady with passion for her life and those around her. The smile captured in the photos was reciprocated by the roughly 100 audience members, as many memories of Ho generated smiles from friends in attendance.
Ho was a senior digital arts major at the University and loved expressing herself through different mediums, according to Sean Danaher, a close friend of Ho’s.
Allen Edwards, who worked with Ho in the EMU Crafts center, experienced Ho’s happiness on a daily basis.
“Every day for over a year seeing her smile was amazing. She had the widest smile in the world,” Edwards said. “She was just such a beautiful soul.”
The vigil was organized by Nicole Pope, a former roommate and close friend of Ho.
“We wanted to put together something that would let people be there for one another and to grieve, but also to remember Carlene and celebrate her life,” Pope said.
According to Pope, Panda Park was Ho’s favorite spot to unwind. She enjoyed the tranquility and peacefulness of the park.
“This is a place she loved. She would come on a hot day and sit and read, or come do yoga on the cobblestone with friends,” Pope said.
In addition to the slideshow and a book for individuals to write their memories of Ho, an illuminated tree adorned with photos of her served as a backdrop to the event. Artwork and personal memories were left as condolences, creating branches of photos and memories.
Following the slideshow was an open mic session, where roommates, friends, and classmates spoke of her friendliness, kindness and her love of life.
“She had the power to light up a room when she came in. She had a presence that affected so many people,” Pope said. “It’s great to have everyone devote their energy and time to come together to do this.”
There will be a gallery of Ho’s artwork compiled by friends and fellow students on display in Lawrence Hall on Monday through Friday of this week.