AUBURN — One Auburn girl has touched hundreds of lives, and that was apparent Thursday evening as many gathered to remember Chloe Calhoun, an 18-year-old who was killed in a crash Wednesday night in Owasco.
When Auburn High School softball coach Bob Lee thinks of Calhoun, he always pictures her smiling.
The 2016 Auburn graduate and star outfielder for the Maroons was always making others feel better with her upbeat attitude.
"She always brought a smile to my face because she was always smiling," Lee said. "Everything was always positive. You couldn't ask for a better person."
Under a night sky dotted with blazing, colorful lanterns, friends and family shared memories of the girl with the bright smile, who'd call her friends, "Girly," got tough when it came to softball, and made people's bad days turn upside down.
Officer Chris Major of the Auburn Police Department is the school's resource officer. He recalled times when Calhoun would skip class to come and chat, always making him laugh. Giggles and laughs waved throughout the crowd, and candles illuminated teary smiles.
Softball teammates called Calhoun the "rock of the team," even recalling times when she had convinced some of her friends to come back to the game after they had quit.
Jeff Pirozzolo, superintendent of Auburn schools, addressed the crowd gathered at the Herman Avenue softball complex, a place Calhoun practiced often, after so many happy memories were shared.
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"She has touched everybody here tonight," he said. "The joy she's brought, you can hear it."
Lee said the location of the candlelight vigil was fitting because the sport was such a big part of Calhoun's life. This past season, she was the Auburn team leader in hitting, home runs and runs batted in.
And she was a true emotional leader, Lee said: "She made everybody feel like a superstar."
Calhoun was planning to attend Utica College and play softball. She was consistently an honor roll student, according to The Citizen's archives. Calhoun also was a charter member of Auburn's Z Club, a group under the Zonta International umbrella which aims to achieve gender equality and end violence against women and girls.
In May, Calhoun was recognized at the Auburn/Cayuga NAACP banquet. She was awarded a scholarship by the local NAACP chapter and received its Dr. Jerome H. "Brud" Holland Youth Leader Award for her work with the Z Club.
As member of the Maroons softball team, she was recognized by The Citizen this spring as one of the Cayuga County area's top players.