‘No one was like her’

Students at St. Mary High School wore plaid to school on Friday, as a way of remembering their classmate. Rebeca's friends say it was her favourite pattern. Photo: Facebook/Deanna Bishop

Lindsey McHarg knows what she’ll remember best about her friend, Rebeca Durand.

“Her laugh. It was the weirdest, most unique one ever.”

Rebeca Durand, Beca to her friends, lost her life in a three-car collision just west of Prince Albert last week. Her classmates at St. Mary High School are coming together for support, and to remember a smart, beautiful young woman who brought laughter and light into their lives.

Lindsey and Rebeca met in health sciences class. Both Grade 11 students, they only knew each other for eight months. But in that short time, Lindsey said, Rebeca became one of her best friends.

“It’s probably just because she’s one of those people you could talk to about anything,” Lindsey said. “She saw things in you that you couldn’t see in yourself.”

“Beca had a heart of gold and a mind worth twice as much.”

Rebeca’s memorial service, which her family is calling a celebration of life, will be held at St. Joseph’s Parish, Tuesday at 2 p.m. Her school’s principal, Mark Phaneuf, said he’ll be stepping up to speak about a student he remembers well.

“She was such a beautiful kid,” he told the Daily Herald. “Full of life and just a kind person.”

He said the school, in collaboration with the health region, has councillors on hand to support grieving students. And Rebeca’s friends have been finding ways to honour her memory. On Friday, they came to class wearing plaid – one of her favourite patterns.

“There’s just a massive group of her friends who are all here for each other,” Lindsey said. “We just talk and tell stories about Beca.”

Alyssa Paradis is one of them. The pair met in gym class, where Rebeca would push her hard to keep going during 12-minute runs. They had matching rings – a symbol of their friendship. Rebeca, Alyssa said, was full of warmth and energy. She “just always understood.” Even when you were down, she “could always make you smile and laugh.”

“Every morning that I would see her in the commons, she would come over to me, full of energy, and give me a big hug and a huge kiss on the cheek or forehead,” Alyssa said.

Like Lindsey, Alyssa remembers someone with so much personality that it made her unique, irreplaceable.

“She could honestly just cheer you up by talking to her because of how weird and quirky she was,” Alyssa said. “No one was like her.”

“Just for being able to know her and call her one of my best friends … I’m eternally grateful.”