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Barton remembering student who died Friday

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Students and staff at Barton College are mourning the loss of freshman Miranda Wheeler, 18, who died Friday following an ATV accident earlier in the day near her home in Youngsville.

Wheeler, a graduate of Bunn High School, was a pre-nursing major and a member of Delta Zeta sorority.

“There are no words to adequately express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of one of our own,” said Douglas N. Searcy, president of Barton College. “Miranda Wheeler was a bright and energetic student who cared deeply for her college and the friends she made here. Her passion for life and learning have made a lasting impact on this campus community, and her absence will be felt by all.”

The Barton College flag has flown at half-staff since Saturday, said Kathy Daughety, director of public relations at the college.

“Counseling and conversation opportunities have been provided by the Rev. Jamie Eubanks, college chaplain, and Kimberly Cross, campus counselor, throughout the weekend,” she said. “There also were moments of silence observed at all athletic events this past weekend to honor Miranda.”

Rachel Krueger, Student Government Association president and Delta Zeta sister, remembers Wheeler as “someone who could walk into a room and light it up. When she walked in, you were either instantly smiling or already on the ground laughing. Miranda was a very special person to everyone who had the chance to know her, and she will be missed by everyone.”

Pink and yellow ribbons (Wheeler’s favorite colors) are being worn on campus throughout the week in remembrance of Wheeler and in support of her family and her sisters of Delta Zeta. The Student Affairs Office and Delta Zeta also created a memory space in Hamlin Student Center to provide an opportunity for students to write messages for Wheeler as well as notes to be given to her family, Daughety said. This space will remain in place all week.

“I was fortunate to get to know Miranda in my freshman year seminar class at Barton,” said Carolyn Hornick, instructor of education and FYS adviser. “She was a sweet Southern young woman who truly loved four-wheeling. On Fridays, she would talk excitedly about going home to ride, and, on Mondays, she would share stories and photos of her adventures. In class, Miranda was quiet, but always attentive. She was committed to her learning and was excited about becoming a nurse after graduation.

“I will miss her gentle spirit.”

Wheeler’s funeral is Monday at 2 p.m. at Harris Chapel Baptist Church in Youngsville, where she was a member of the choir.

Barton has arranged for a charter bus to take Wheeler’s sorority sisters to the Youngsville service as well as several passenger vans to carry additional students planning to attend, Daughety said.

Barton will hold a memorial service for Wheeler on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Howard Chapel on campus for the college community. Eubanks will officiate at the service.

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