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Cara Loughran would have been 15 yesterday.
Instead, she died a week earlier when a gunman stalked the halls of her high school — Marjory Stoneman Douglas — killing 17 and wounding 15. Her older brother Liam, a 17-year-old senior at Stoneman Douglas, was reunited with his parents within hours.
Read More: The 17 lives lost at Douglas High
The day after her friends and family should have been celebrating Cara’s ability to get a learner’s permit to drive a car, they were mourning the teenager at a visitation at the Kraeer Funeral Home in Coral Springs. The line of mourners wrapped around the building.
Most wore turquoise or purple ribbons – Cara’s favorite colors – pinned to their chests. Katalyna Moncayo, 14, said she’ll miss her sweet and smart best friend. They used to hang out and watch “The Flash” every Tuesday night and go see movies for their birthday celebrations.
Cara loved Irish dancing, a nod to her heritage. Her grandparents live in Ireland, where her father is from, according to the Irish Times. Several Irish dance schools around the country posted pictures of their dancers adorned in purple ribbon in honor of Cara.
Her own school, the Coral Springs’ Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida, started a gofundme for her family that has raised nearly $14,000.
Despite her involvement, Cara was shy about her talent around her friends.
“We tried to get her to Irish dance for us, but she wouldn’t,” Katalyna said with a smile. The two met in seventh grade at Coral Springs Middle School and stayed friends as they both moved on to Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Another middle school classmate, 14-year-old Troy Beasley, said he remembered Cara as “kinda quiet” but always smiling.
“When she got an idea, she would just smile and smile,” he said. “It was amazing.”
As the sun set on the white-roofed funeral home, mourners waited for their turn to enter the building and comfort the family. Behind the building, people held each other in long, tight hugs and dabbed their eyes with tissues.
Marie Sweet and her husband, Richard, stopped by to support Cara’s mother, who worked at the JCPenney where Marie got her hair done.
“I’m just heatbroken for her mother and all the other kids,” she said. “It’s just terrible.”