Balloons Sent Into The Sky

A+boquet+of+balloons+holding+a+note+flies+through+the+air.+Several+students+wrote+notes+on+the+balloons+as+well+as+writing+a+paper+note.+--Sarah+Huang%2C+Yearbook

A boquet of balloons holding a note flies through the air. Several students wrote notes on the balloons as well as writing a paper note. --Sarah Huang, Yearbook

A boquet of balloons holding a note flies through the air. Several students wrote notes on the balloons as well as writing a paper note. --Sarah Huang, Yearbook
A boquet of balloons holding a note flies through the air. Several students wrote notes on the balloons as well as writing a paper note. –Sarah Huang, Yearbook

Hundreds of vibrantly colored balloons were released into the sun-kissed sky Tuesday evening as the entire RHS community remembered senior Michelle Miller, who died the morning of April 8.

Students, staff, alumni, family members and friends of Miller came together Tuesday to attach notes to balloon strings containing fond memories, thoughts and prayers. “[Miller] would be really happy to see how many people came out to show their support and love for her,” said varsity soccer and lacrosse teammate, and friend of Miller’s, junior Samantha Bauer.

Miller’s close friends, seniors Alexis Frager, Kelly McTighe and Sontanna Cremins, planned the vigil. They and others close to Miller encouraged students and staff to come out to the RHS track and symbolically remember her life. They each gave short speeches recalling their memorable experiences with Miller, often breaking into tears. Sorrow was surely present, but happiness came with the memories shared by Miller’s friends.

“[Miller had] a free spirit and bubbly personality,” said varsity soccer teammate and friend Kathleen McTighe. Both Bauer and McTighe agreed Miller was a ray of sunshine, but also competitive, tough and passionate in everything she pursued. Her unique character was honored by all on Tuesday.

Principal Dr. Debra Munk generously offered to open the track to allow friends and family to use the intercom. She also implored students to “remember and celebrate [Miller’s] life.” Dr. Munk expressed great grief, repeatedly asking students to talk to counselors visiting RHS or vent to supportive teachers.

Social studies teacher and varsity girls’ lacrosse coach Caitlin Ulmer was especially close to Miller. Ulmer and the rest of the lacrosse team, both JV and varsity, made neon t-shirts devoted to Miller, reading “Number one on the field, number one in our hearts. MeeshMills, 9-1-95 to 4-08-13,” “number onea�� referring to Miller’s varsity soccer, basketball and lacrosse uniform numbers.

“I think it was good for us to grieve together,” said Ulmer, “It was great to see kids who you would never expect to be there, and they all had Michelle stories.” Based on the large turnout for the memorial service, Miller touched the lives of many.

“Once [Miller] set her mind to something, it was going to happen. If we all had half that much fire, we’d all be just fine,” said Ulmer. Miller will be remembered throughout the RHS community.