The five students killed at Northern Illinois University on Thursday were at college to begin building their dreams. Two wanted to be teachers. Another gave friends rides to class and helped them with homework. One served in the military. On Friday, friends and family mourned them.
Daniel Parmenter, 20, a sophomore from Westchester, was studying finance and sold ads for the campus newspaper. The paper's adviser, Maria Krull, described him as a "gentle giant." He was always offering people rides to class, helping friends with homework or doing community service, said Pi Kappa Alpha chapter president Jason Garcia.
The youngest of four siblings in a family from Guadalajara, Mexico, Catalina Garcia's family settled in Cicero, west of Chicago. The 20-year-old wanted to become a teacher, something her family admired. "She always had a smile on her face, such a positive attitude and outlook on life. It was contagious," recalled Michael Parrie, her chemistry teacher.
Just before Valentine's Day, Ryanne Mace, 19, posted a note for her friends on her MySpace page: "Happy Valentine's Day Everybody! ... Saying you love someone is not enough, it's how you treat them that shows your true feelings." The sophomore from Carpentersville was studying psychology. "She was our only child, the light of our lives," said her mother, Mary Kay Mace.
Julianna Gehant wanted to teach elementary school. "I have four more semesters until I'm qualified to teach second-graders," she wrote in her 2007 Christmas card. Her high school drama teacher, Dave Schroeder, said, "I told her I wanted to be one of the first ones to give her a recommendation" for the job. "It's just a terrible loss." The 32-year-old from Meriden came to Northern Illinois University after a stint in the Army, where she taught construction.
Gayle Dubowski, 20, a sophomore from Carol Stream, graduated from Glenbard North High School, where she sang in the choir and was "a very positive student," said principal John Mensik. Teachers there were in tears Friday morning when they heard the news. "She was a good person with a big heart," said a friend, Kelly Cavanaugh, who met her at the DeKalb Church of Christ.