Smithsburg students share loss of a friend

November 20, 1997

Smithsburg students share loss of a friend


Staff Writer

SMITHSBURG - Battling cold temperatures and their own tears, about 75 Smithsburg High School students and recent graduates huddled Wednesday evening around Charas Heurich's parking space in front of the school and tried to come to grips with the traffic accident that cut short her young life.

Heurich, an honors student and track star, died Monday night, hours after her car collided with a Mazda MX-3 at the intersection of Md. 64 and Bikle Road.

Memorial services will be Friday morning, but on Wednesday evening, students mourned on their own terms.

With many holding candles, the students circled the space where the 17-year-old senior parked her car. Between the lines, students wrote notes of encouragement in chalk and placed balloons, flowers and other items in the center.


Each item held special meeting, students said, like the bags of Goldfish, the snack cracker Heurich and her friends often ate in Spanish class.

"We have to take a lesson from Charas and live our lives to the fullest like she did, because they can be snuffed out just as easily as one of these candles," said Dave Honigs, 17.

Honigs said he was not among Heurich's closest friends, but he warmly recalled that she was the first student to welcome him when he moved into the school district several years ago.

As they spoke, many of the students' muffled sobs became full-fledged tears. They turned to prayer to try to make sense of the senseless.

Bucky Howe, 19, a Hagerstown Junior College student who graduated from Smithsburg, suggested Heurich is in heaven.

"She's having it better than any of us today," he said.

Nick Stevens said perhaps the tragedy would bring people together who were not close before.

"We all love and miss Charas a lot. There will be something positive to come out of this," he said.

Classmate Melanie Clark, 17, lamented that Heurich had to pay the ultimate price.

"It shouldn't take something like this to bring us all together," she said.

During the evening, the students swapped stories about their friend, reminiscing about old boyfriends, silly fights - the little snippets of life that take on so much more meaning after such a tragedy.

Sara Hetzell, 17, recalled a time she and Heurich tried to take down a Christmas tree in Heurich's house. After failing to wriggle it through the door, she said they turned to more innovative means.

"We got a saw out of the basement and we chopped the tree down. There were pine needles all over the floor," she said. "It took us all afternoon to clean it up."

Scott Ancarrow, 17, said he had known Heurich since they were in preschool - at age 3.

"She was the first girl I ever had a crush on," he said.

The students said they plan to hand out ribbons this morning in school. The ribbons of hunter green - her favorite color - are meant as one more remembrance, they said.

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