Keeping Jax’s memory alive

Friends commemorate student who passed away

By on July 19, 2016
Sophomore Jackie Gray was a member of the Quinnipiac Ice Cats.Photo Courtesy of Michelle Coppola

Sophomore Jackie Gray was a member of the Quinnipiac Ice Cats.

Jacqueline Gray was a sophomore, Dean’s List student, a psychology major and a member of the Quinnipiac Ice Cats. But according to alumna and friend Meg Prevost, Gray will be remembered most for her outgoing personality.

I am not sure if during our time together she was ever not smiling,” Prevost said. “She sincerely had the kind of personality and aura about her that could light up an entire room and engage every person she came in contact with.”

Gray passed away on July 4, 2016 from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, according to a statement sent to the Quinnipiac community by Vice President and Dean of Students Monique Drucker.

Sophomores Cameron Burbank, a close friend of Gray’s, and Ice Cat Rachel Roman, started a GoFundMe page to donate a bench in Gray’s name.

Burbank has been reaching out to members of the class of 2019 for contributions for the bench. He said the bench would be along the Tower Trail at Sleeping Giant State Park, where Gray loved to hike.

“I have unfortunately lost a friend before, and at the time came up with the idea to make a bench for him and put it in the location of the school we had attended together,” he said. “When I did this, I saw how it brought people together for the donation and dedication of the bench.”

Burbank said students who wish to contribute to the bench are encouraged to visit the GoFundMe webpage Burbank created. Any unused funds will be appropriated to a scholarship in Gray’s name or to support the family, according to Burbank.

Taylor Chelo, senior and captain of the Ice Cats, said Gray’s memory will encourage the team to strive to be the best versions of themselves.

“I will never forget helping Jax [Gray] buy her first pair of figure skates. She was so excited to break them in,” Chelo said. “I knew from that moment how much making the Ice Cats as a freshman meant to her. She always had such a fire in her and a love for this team that no one could ever take away.”

Chelo said a memorial hockey game and a dance showcase with other Quinnipiac dance groups are currently in the works for the next academic year in honor of Gray.

“Jax [Gray] always brought a positive energy to our team. Her natural confidence to perform and to contribute to the betterment of the team never went unnoticed,” Chelo said. “This is how Jax has taught me what it means to be a leader. As next year’s captain, I can’t wait to tell our future teammates how much of a positive impact she has made on this team. As much as we would love to have her on the ice with us, we are so blessed to have a role model and guardian angel in the seasons to come.”

Coach of the Ice Cats Michelle Coppola said Gray brought perseverance, compassion and generosity to the team.

“Jax [Gray] could not skate at all and I knew that at tryouts, but there was something about her,” Coppola said. “A few practices later, you would have never known Jax could not skate. She danced like a star and skated like a champ. She always had a smile on her face.”

Practice uniforms will now be purple, Gray’s favorite color, according to Coppola. She said she is also looking to raise awareness towards bullying in schools, as that was an important cause to Gray.

Quinnipiac alumna and former Ice Cat Mallory Robalino said Gray was also an active participant in the Best Buddies program in her hometown of Milford, Massachusetts.

Prevost said Gray will always be remembered at Quinnipiac, even as time passes.

“Jackie [Gray] was the epitome of what it means to be a true Bobcat, and will always be with us here at [Quinnipiac],” Prevost said. “I think it says a lot about a person and their personality and character to be able to leave such an outstanding impact on so many people in such a limited amount of time, and if anyone had that capability it would be Jackie [Gray].”

Gray’s funeral was held on July 9, 2016. Counseling Services are available in the Health and Wellness Center on Bobcat Way located on the Mount Carmel Campus.

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About Hannah Feakes

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Class of 2019