Friends, teachers remember Hannah Graham

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a service that mixed laughter with tears, Hannah Graham’s
life was celebrated Saturday during a memorial service at West Potomac High
School, her alma mater.

Graham’s family, teachers, coaches and friends shared poignant and funny
remembrances.

“She was a great slugger who excelled at all she did — humorous and quick-
witted,” recalled Craig Maniglia, the high school softball coach who watched her
rise to team captain.

Graham’s public school band teachers, Joe LaBrie and Charlie Burts, remembered
her as a section leader in the band. There, as a saxophone player, she brought
out the best of all the students around her.

The service featured the high school band playing some of Hannah’s favorite
songs, including “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and “Love Me Tender.”

“Hannah was a huge fan of Elvis,” her band teachers recalled.

The stage was bedecked with two sprays of fresh flowers, a floral wreath and the
ski team’s empty throne-chair, its back slats made of skis covered in flowers.

The 18-year-old University of Virginia sophomore disappeared
September 13
. Her remains were found near Charlottesville in mid-
October following a massive search. Jesse Matthew, of Charlottesville, is
charged with her disappearance and faces charges involving other young women.

Hannah Graham’s friends recalled the freckled face, the razor-sharp wit and eye-
rolling when she heard something that was over the top.

At the service, one friend evoked laughs remembering that the girl born in
England recommended that only the best British chocolate be used when they
toasted s’mores.

Outside the service, 19-year-old Tamara Warren of Alexandria, who grew up with
Hannah, playing in the same softball program says, “she was one of the funniest
people you probably would ever meet in your whole life. She was so kind and
caring.”

Another friend, 17-year-old Stormy Zyzyk, who knew Hannah for about 10 years and
played on the same softball travel team, fought back tears remembering her
friend. “It definitely hurts, it’s definitely taken a toll on me,” Zyzyk says.

“A number of students had the wonderful privilege of playing with her,
performing with her and are certainly impacted deeply by her loss,” says West
Potomac High principal Alex Case.

At the service, closed to news cameras and microphones, Hannah’s mother Sue,
read the poem “Remember Me” by David Harkins:

“… You can cry and lose yourself, become distraught and turn your back on
the world or you can do what I want — smile, wipe away tears, learn to love
again and go on.”

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