ROYAL OAK, Mich. — Taylor Derosa's family, friends, and fellow GVSU Lakers met at Royal Oak High School for a candlelight vigil honoring her.
"She was smart, she was strong, and knew exactly who she was," one person said. They took turns telling stories remembering her strength and the ways she touched their lives.
"She carried such grace and confidence and passion that made you want to listen to her." Another friend told the story of how Taylor gave her the courage to speak in front of a crowd for the first time, a young Derosa volunteering to go first so her friend would be less nervous.
Taylor and her friends did the same things any kid would do; skipping 5th period or going to concerts, but also standing up for people without a voice, going to rallies and trying to be a voice for change.
They remembered her as an easy friend to make and a force to be reckoned with, standing up to bullies for kids she barely knew - then turning them into life-long friends. One friend wrote and sang a song in her memory, bringing any hold-outs in the crowd to tears.
"A correction that we need to make," Bishop Darrel Harris said before leading the group in prayer. "Is we've been saying 'she was; she was loved. She was awesome.' But the truth of the matter is she is still with us... It's not 'She was'. It's 'She is'."
Taylor's body was found on campus at GVSU by a jogger on December 12th. Police have not released details of Taylors death or a suspect.