Written by: Crimson Messenger staff
New Palestine High School returned from spring break with heavy hearts at the loss of freshman Abby Rejer. Known by all as a joyful and independent spirit, the school’s staff and students mourned the loss of a one-of-a-kind student.
“Abby was one of the friends you pray to have. She would not just hear, but would listen to anything and everything you had to say no matter how little it was. She would stand up for you, be a shoulder to cry on, and she always knew how to make a situation better,” freshman Aubrey Neese said.
Abby was recognized by her teachers as an outstanding student. She excelled in every subject, often received perfect scores on tests, and even could measure up to teachers in a game of vocabulary “Around The World”.
“I think we had three or four tiebreakers until… Abby beat me. I don’t remember what the vocabulary word was, but she said it sooner than I did and ended up winning the game. The whole class went wild and told me she deserved extra credit, which I gave her- although she never needed it,” Kylie Strike, her Spanish teacher, said.
Not only was she outstanding, but she was humble about it.
“I think what really set her apart from other students was that she was equal parts brilliant and humble,” Strike said.
Abby had one of the best grades out of any of Strike’s classes, but still made other people feel good about what they knew and motivated them to know even more.
“She made everyone feel special while simultaneously blowing them away with how smart she was,” Strike said.
Other than her excellence in Spanish, but she was an amazing chemistry student. Chemistry teacher Nicholas Mitchaner described her as “a rock star” academically.
“She was one of the students who ended the quarter with a perfect score on every single test,” Mitchaner said.
She wanted to improve even more as she furthered her education and challenge herself with rigorous courses. Before spring break, Abby and Mitchaner discussed her plans to take AP chemistry.
Mitchaner’s favorite memory of Abby was when she was so excited to see her grade on the end of the nine weeks’ test she stayed after school.
“I pointed out to her that it was the end of the nine weeks and we were ready to have a test, and I said, ‘Hey, you have a 100 percent on all of the tests so far, so if you ace this you’ve ended all tests perfectly.’ She got super nervous and excited about it, so she stayed after school and watched me grade the tests to see what she scored. She was so happy when she got a perfect score,” Mitchaner said.
Abby was always a friendly face at NPHS. She always made sure no one felt left out.
“As a person, she got along with everybody. Every single person, no matter who she was partnered up with, or if she was working on a lab with someone different,” Mitchaner said.
Self-conscious wasn’t a word in Abby’s vocabulary. She was entirely herself without a care about the judgment of others.
“I think that Abby was always just completely fine with being herself. She seemed so comfortable being in her own skin and she didn’t have the need to impress anybody or her peers,” English teacher Amanda McConnell said.
Another exceptional quality of Abby’s was her unwavering positivity.
“I think the the fact you never saw her in a bad mood made her special. I never saw a bad day out of her, not once,” Mitchaner said.
Many of her teachers described her as always being upbeat.
“She would “bounce” into class everyday with a smile, positive attitude, and a need to go to the bathroom,” health teacher Brian Bowen said.
Even when it came to schoolwork, Abby would tackle it all with a smile.
“She would enthusiastically do all of the assignments; she could always find the fun in something,” McConnell said.
McConnell even described a time when they had to act out scenes from “The Odyssey” in English and Abby played Odysseus.
“I remember her getting so excited about the part where she would be tied to the mast of the ship where the sirens were hanging around, and she was so happy about getting the part. She got really into the role of being Odysseus, and it was great,” McConnell said.
One way she stayed positive was by making others and herself laugh.
“Socially, she was one of those kids that wasn’t afraid to laugh at herself, which really drew kids and adults close to her.” Brian Kehrt, her geometry teacher, said.
She and Kehrt even had a little inside joke. Abby raised chickens, but Kehrt would always purposefully ask how her rabbits doing.
“She would always be there with a funny impression or a funny face. Abby was so carefree … that’s what made her such a great friend and classmate,” freshman Clara Fleetwood said.
Abby’s friends have so many fond memories with her, ranging from just singing and playing the ukulele at her house, to playing Pokemon Go and traveling to Chicago for a concert.
“My absolute favorite was when she asked me if I wanted to go to a concert with her in Chicago at the last minute. In ended up being one of the best nights of our lives. We sang and danced our hearts out all night and had to be dragged out of the arena because we just didn’t want the night to end,” Neese said.
Fleetwood got closest to Abby in middle school, and remembers meeting her on the tennis team.
“Tennis was where I really got to know Abby. We both barely knew how to play and she always made me laugh. By luck, we were on the same doubles team. Abby wasted no time nicknaming our team. It even had a slogan ‘A/C: cooling you off’,” she said.
Freshman Jordan Reid has fond memories of Abby as well.
“Back in 8th grade we always carpooled together. So many strange, funny, awesome talks. Over the summer we spent so much time together with another friend of ours. I remember we sat in the bathroom of a White Castle trying to catch Pikachu (on Pokemon Go). We were weird kids,” Reid said.
On top of being a phenomenal tennis player, she was also a musician. Abby played the ukulele.
“She could pick up the ukulele and learn a song or two and play it spot on,” Reid said.
If her friends had the chance to say one thing to Abby, they all replied with heartwarming comments on how carefree and inspiring she was.
“If I could tell Abby one thing I would thank her for inspiring me. She was always so true to herself and honestly did not care what care what others thought because her happiness came first. She is truly incredible,” Neese said.
Abby was well known for also being someone who didn’t care about what others thought of her and always lived her life to the fullest.
“If I could say one thing to Abby, I would tell her that I’m proud of her. She always did her own thing, and looking back I’m envious that she lived her life to the fullest that she could,” Fleetwood said.
“I would say that she’s definitely impacted my life. In a way to live in the moment, to live like there’s no worry in the world. She was always there for me. She was always there if I needed help with school or if I needed help anything. I would say how much that she’s personally helped me with life. Just to live in the moment and enjoy life to the best,” Reid said.
Abby made a significant impact on her friends, family, and the people she interacted with at school. NPHS grieves the loss of a student that meant so much to so many.
“I miss you very much, Abby. I think of you every single day. I play for you now. Your memories will always be with me. I love you very much,” Reid said.