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WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 21, 2012, 06:41 PM

Friends gather to remember four lives taken too soon

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Staff and counselors at NDSU are consoling students left grieving today after the loss of four freshman girls in that horrible accident near Alexandria. Jordan Playle, Danielle Renninger, Lauren Peterson, and Megan Sample all of NDSU were killed in the crash. Today close friends of the girls shared memories, grief, and stories of lives lost.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Staff and counselors at NDSU are consoling students left grieving today after the loss of four freshman girls in that horrible accident near Alexandria. Jordan Playle, Danielle Renninger, Lauren Peterson, and Megan Sample all of NDSU were killed in the crash. Today close friends of the girls shared memories, grief, and stories of lives lost.

Many friends of the girls say they are still in shock after news of these deaths. Some we talked to---childhood friends who are now helping each other through this tragic storm.

How do teenagers who just a year ago were preparing for high school graduation now try to process losing one of their own?

Emily Hedberg – UND Student: “It just hit so close to home, you never think things like this happen to you until they do happen.”

Today, all these girls shared stories of Lauren Peterson.

Devon Schuster – UND Student: “She was a beautiful person and we will never forget her.”

They all went to Prior Lake schools from elementary through their senior year.

Emily Hedberg: “She was just so naturally beautiful from the inside and out.”

Kelsey Kuester – Concordia Student: “She was always thinking of others. She had the biggest heart.”

The irony of the tragedy is two of the girls were also on their way home from the cities, driving by the accident scene, unaware of the news they would hear shortly after.

Devon Schuster: “I just said, ‘No don't be Lauren, please don’t be Lauren. It can't be her.’”

Through it all, as they remember these beautiful girls, a grim reminder how quickly life can change.

Brittani Colucci – Concordia Student: “You honestly don't know what can happen in the blink of an eye.”

For these 18 year olds, lessons learned.

Ali Hadac – Concordia Student: “I think people just need to tell everyone you love them whenever you get the chance. I called my mom and dad right away and let them know I loved them…just not to take things for granted.”

Four young women remembered today for what they left behind.

Emily Hedberg: “Even if you were not close to her, ever if you weren’t her best friend, even just being around her you would have a smile on your face. She was so funny, and she was full of energy and full of life.”

The death of the four girls hit not only the campus; the grandparents of Lauren Peterson are from Fargo-Moorhead.

NDSU quickly reached out to students on campus who were friends with the four girls who died. Administration has counselors and faculty reaching out to the students, especially those who lived in the on-campus dorms with the girls. Three of the four lived in a suite together.

Dorm directors and staff are working with students who are grieving over the loss. Counselors will be made available to those needing help.

Prakash Matthew – VP Student Affairs: “People express grief in different ways. Some want to share their pictures, some were already sharing stories. Counselors are working with the people who need help, particularly for the suite mates and floor members.”

A memorial service is being planned, but no date has been set yet.

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