Sophomores killed during winter break memorialized at the rock on Farm Lane
“They were definitely one of a kind,” Diana Nicoletti, an advertising and professional writing sophomore, said of her friends Maura Brandi and Carolena Elowsky at their memorial at the Rock on Farm Lane Sunday night.
A little more than a month has passed since Brandi, a landscape architecture sophomore, and Elowsky, an accounting sophomore, died in a car accident during winter break. The memorial was hosted by the sisters of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, of which Elowsky was a member.
In celebration of their lives, students and friends gathered to paint the rock, sign their names and write messages to both Brandi and Elowsky.
Paper bag luminaries and flowers surrounded the rock as students and friends reflected upon their memories of their friends.
During the memorial, Nicoletti recited a poem written by Elowsky’s aunt, which she said has been helping her get through the difficult time.
Nicoletti, who shared an apartment with the pair, as well as with kinesiology sophomore Alexandria Kuiper, said the group was like the sisters they never had.
“We had an unbelievable bond between us,” Nicoletti said. “We could be going out on a weekend or just hang out on a Tuesday night and we would always have fun.”
She said some of her best memories as a group were made on game days.
“Carolena and I would wake up and play the fight song and wake (Kuiper and Brandi) up,” Nicoletti said.
Some of the pair’s friends from their hometown of Charlevoix, Michigan came to share their memories with members of the MSU community.
Bailee Stevens, a Grand Valley State University student, said Brandi and Elowsky had an intense amount of passion for MSU.
“Both of them applied to Michigan and Michigan State their senior year and as soon as they both got accepted to State it was no question where they were going,” Stevens said. “Ever since then, they had MSU attire on ... I wouldn’t be surprised if they had it on during graduation.”
Stevenson said she was not surprised with the large amount of people who came to the rock because she knows Brandi and Elowsky touched a lot of people’s lives.
Hannah Herboldsheimer, another hometown friend and student at Grand Rapids Community College, said even at their small high school, Brandi and Elowsky expressed school spirit and love for the people around them.
“We’re a family, all of us,” Herboldsheimer said. “Everybody loved them and they loved every single person in our graduating class. It’s just like losing family members.”
Kuiper said as time passes, she wants the MSU community to remember how special and important both Brandi and Elowsky were and how much they loved MSU in return.
“They were the biggest, craziest, most loving Spartan fans you’ll ever meet,” Kuiper said.