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Nicole Parfitt remembered as great classmate, teammate, friend

Lake Zurich  Sunday  11/25/12     Danielle Koch 17 hugs Lauren Barry (Back camera) 18 Sunday's

Lake Zurich Sunday, 11/25/12 Danielle Koch, 17, hugs Lauren Barry (Back to camera) 18, at Sunday's Visitation for Nicole Parfitt, 14, and her father, Todd Parfitt, at Antioch High School. Nicole, who was a freshman at the school, and her father died in a plane crash in Burlington Wisconsin on Nov. 18th. Koch is a member of the school's dance team. Barry is a member of Lakes High School's dance team. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 25, 2013 1:38AM

”Life’s too short, but while we are here, we might as well dance.”

Members of the Antioch High School dance team commemorated their teammate and classmate, Nicole Parfitt, with purple shirts with that phrase and a dance-team photo on them at her wake and visitation.

Nicole, 14, and her father Todd Parfitt, 50, both of Antioch, died in a plane crash on Sunday, Nov. 18. Hundreds of mourners from the community came to their wake and visitation held this past Sunday at Antioch High School.

“It’s a tragic loss. She was a very active freshman student. It’s just a tragedy for our school community and for our community,” said Jim McKay, superintendent of the school district that includes both Antioch and Lakes high schools.

He said he was proud of his school, staff and response team. Counselors, social workers and psychologists were put in place as the crisis team to meet with students last Monday, the day after the fatal crash occurred.

About 500 of the school’s 1,400 students sought grief supportive services, according to psychologist Christy Kasbohm.

“Overall, it’s been a really supportive environment. The students are helping each other out,” Kasbohm said.

Nicole’s circle of friends was “huge,” Kasbohm added.

The community has rallied together to support the Parfitt family and friends, according to Antioch High School assistant principal Phyllis Fay.

“The community has been strong. It shows you what a close-knit community this is,” Fay said.

Dozens of photos showing Nicole smiling, in dance poses or making goofy faces were on display on poster boards at Sunday’s wake. Many mourners came in purple, her class color.

“She always lived life to the fullest,” said Madelynn Soberano, an Antioch High School freshman who knew Nicole since fifth grade. Madelynn described Nicole as “bubbly” and the life of the party.

It’s been “quiet” without Nicole, she said.

“You’d always hear her in the hallway laughing,” said Mercedes Lima, also a freshman.

Mercedes knew Nicole since eighth grade. She said Nicole was goofy and was always making people laugh.

“She always was really happy. Being around her made you feel better,” said Jessica Guzman, 14.

Nicole danced at local studio Extreme Artistry Dance Studio. She was also on the Antioch High School dance team, which was quite an accomplishment for a freshman.

“For her age, she had the technique of a senior. She really belonged on varsity,” said dance team member Paige Gruber.

Paige remembered Nicole’s laugh.

“I always saw her happy. I never saw her sad,” Paige said.

Nicole was flying in a 1972 single-engine airplane with her father on Sunday, Nov. 18. Her father, Todd, was a United Airlines dispatcher for 15 years and was an experienced flier. They were having a father-daughter day when, just before 1:30 p.m., the plane crashed in a cornfield just west of Burlington Municipal Airport, near the Walworth and Racine county line in Wisconsin.

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