PISCATAWAY, NJ — Hundred of mourners filed into the football stadium stands at Piscataway High School Friday night to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Euna Shin.
Shin, a 2016 PHS graduate and Rutgers Honors College student died from head injuries she suffered in a March snowboarding accident at a Pocono Mountain ski resort.
According to her family on a gofundme page, because Euna loved life and inspired so many to be their best selves, they wanted to hold a community celebration instead of a traditional funeral so others could have an opportunity to express their condolences with them.
The celebration featured performances by the PHS Jazz Ensemble, a community choir, and a violin soloist and other presentations. There was also a paint-by-number station and an area to leave personal messages of condolence, all in honor of the impact Euna, an accomplished musician and PHS band member had on those around her.
“It’s a very fitting celebration of Euna’s life,” said superintendent, Teresa Rafferty. “So many people knew her. She just had a zest for life, and enjoyed every moment, and lived every moment. I think this is what she would want for us, how to celebrate her life and how to recognize her.”
Family, friends, and former teachers spoke about how she touched their lives.
“Euna was such a positive influence on anyone who ever crossed her path,” said Natalie who graduated from PHS with Euna. “Nobody ever had anything bad to say about her. I think that in this day and age that really speaks to her character. She gave her all to everything that she did and was always ready to lend a helping hand. That’s how we’re going to remember her. That’s who she is and always will be.”
Brian, another friend said, “Euna was one of those people that everyone gravitated towards. You can see from tonight that everyone wants to come out to support her. Euna was smart, funny, happy, just a great person.”
“Euna was one of those people who would walk into a room and the whole room lit up,” added Brianna. “She always made everything so much better. It’s nice to see everybody out here to support her. That’s how you can truly see that she made such a big impact, not only on our class but Piscataway as a whole.
“My biggest memory of her is she never walked down the hallway without a smile on her face,” remembered Julia Cabrero who was Euna’s 9th grade Honors Geometry teacher. “She was always friendly, happy and having a good time. She was fantastic. She would always come by the classroom to say hi.”
Jessica Loux, Euna’s 12th grade English teacher for AP literature and composition expressed similar sentiments. “She was by far one of the top students in the class,” said Loux. “All of the students in the class were always trying to compete to get better than Euna. She was one of the best. She will definitely be missed.”
Holly Cregar-Porch taught Euna Honors US History her sophomore year and has known her a long time. “She was a lot of fun, always joking and very intelligent,” recalled Cregar-Porch, who also taught Euna’s sister. “We had a greater time in class together. It was a family affair.”
The original goal of the gofundme campaign was to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of the celebration, including food and T-shirts for each guest. At press time, over $20,000 had been donated, with the difference earmarked to a scholarship the family plans to establish in Euna’s name.
“In her memory, we will continue to support and inspire students in our community as she did,” said her family. “The scholarship will be awarded to students that excel in academics and the performing arts.”
To make a contribution, visit https://www.gofundme.com/eunashin.
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