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Friends Remember Casey Schulman

High school friends recall optimism, warmth and love of fallen friend.

Falls Church and University of Virginia communities were devastated Saturday after learning they had lost an invaluable member with the death of Casey Schulman.

Schulman, 22, a 2009 graduate of J.E.B. Stuart High and fourth year student at UVA, was studying abroad with the Semester at Sea program when a boat struck her while she was swimming off the coast of Dominica.

No funeral arrangements have been made as of yet.

While the story can be found on The Washington Post, Patch wanted to give some of Casey's friends a chance to elaborate on how much of an impact she had on their lives.

Julia Straker is a 2006 graduate of Stuart and was captain of the cheerleading team when she met Casey, who had joined as a freshman:

"Casey was truly an angel here on earth. I am forever grateful to have known such a beautiful person. Casey was wise beyond her years, spoke with incredible insight and had a remarkable perspective on life. She beamed with positivity. She was the sweetest, kindest and most gracious person anyone could hope to know. She had an undeniable inner beauty and strength that she channeled into everything she did, each person she knew. It's quite incredible the enormous impact she has made not only in my life, but the countless others who cherish her beautiful soul and spirit as much as I do. Casey will never be forgotten."

Ben Todd is a 2010 graduate of Stuart and he and his two sisters have been friends of the Schulman's for many years:

"Casey was everything in my eyes. She was beautiful, sweeter than anyone I have ever met, and smarter than most people I will ever meet.

She was so many things, to try and peg her down with description would be nearly impossible. One thing that I'm sure will be reiterated whenever anyone talks about her is optimism. Casey was never negative. Whether she was walking into the pool to give swim lessons as the most sought after swim coach, or standing around her kitchen as she made me a sandwich (she made them better than I could), Casey was always happy to be there, and everyone was happy she was there.

She created such a warm, comfortable place to be when I was upset or sad or angry, or whatever emotion I was feeling. I always felt at ease and at peace with Casey. I look up to her and when I think about her I smile, and I feel at home. Casey is home to me."

Mara Rowcliffe is a 2009 graduate of Stuart and says she and Casey immediately became friends when they met 11 years ago at a birthday party:

"When I think about Casey I remember the wonderful summers we spent together. She loved to spend the day outside at the pool and with her friends. Casey has taught me so much about love and friendship. The one thing I will always remember is the loyalty she showed me. She was always supportive, and never judgmental. She genuinely cared about everyone.

In the summer as kids, Casey would wake up extra early to come to my house. She wanted us to bike to swim practice so we could have more time together. Every morning she would walk into my room with the sweetest smile, and an attitude ready for a wonderful day.

Casey appreciated all the little things in life. She would always comment on how much she enjoyed the weather or beautiful scenery. She was a wonderful daughter, sister, and friend as she made the feelings of others her top priority.

It feels unreal to have been touched by someone so genuinely kind, but Casey was truly an angel. I am so grateful for the years she shared with me."

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