Remembering Libby Daniel

Audrey Kelly, Staff Writer

Her room stands still with her My Chemical Romance posters scattered on her walls. On a shelf sits different sprays labelled “for stress” and “for headaches.” And in her closet hangs her JROTC uniform.

This is the room of Elizabeth “Libby” Daniel.

In the early hours of April 7, Libby, a senior, and her long-term boyfriend, Wando alumni Keith Schemm died in a car accident, leaving behind an abundance of loved ones who are devoted to carrying on her legacy.

“She was the light in the room,” junior Jennifer Ackner said. She and Daniel only became close this past year, but the beauty about Libby is that you only needed to know her for a day to feel as though you’ve known her forever.

Libby wore her heart on her sleeve, which meant she was either crying of joy or sadness, something that everyone knew and loved about her.

“I remember one time I was nervous for an audition for ROTC and I started crying. Immediately Libby took me to a bathroom, handed me the chips she had just taken from me, and said, ‘Don’t let anyone see you cry because that’s what I do and your cadets need to see you be strong.’ I ended up getting the position,” Ackner said.

That’s the kind of person Libby was — a leader to those around her. Even when things were dark, Libby would always find something bright and find her way through it.

“She just saw potential and wonder in everything. Some people look at the sun and see just that — the sun. But she never took anything for granted,” Ackner said. “She believed in the energy of everything. She wasn’t a worshiper or anything, but she thought that all things in the world were beautiful and meant something.”

One thing that Daniel was also extremely committed to was JROTC. She was this years commander, making her the leader of all the cadets.

“We knew since she was a freshman that she was the one for the job,” Major John Farese said.

Farese was one of the most important people in Libby’s life, acting as her long-term mentor and someone she cared for deeply. “She was always ready to help others and do whatever because she knew that we needed her,” he said.

Libby looked at her cadets as family members, each one with different talents and wondrous potential. Whenever she saw someone feeling left out, she would be the first to make them feel included. When someone didn’t have a ride home or to a drill, she would immediately offer them one, no matter how far it was.

“She could be extremely sweet and then extremely tough, which is what is needed for a leader,” Farese said. “And while she cried at just about everything, she’s one of the best cadets we’ve had. She’s like my daughter, and I am immensely proud of her.”

Libby had just recently been accepted into the College of Charleston, something she — of course — cried tears of happiness about, knowing that all of her hard work was truly noticed by others.

“She just had this energy about her that spread out across every room and everyone could feel it,” senior Daniel Higman said.

Higman has known Daniel since fifth grade and believes with his whole heart that she’s always remained the same person — a Harry Potter-loving, ripndip enthusiast and obsessed-with-all-things-nature type of girl.

Libby can be described in one word — passionate. About her friends, family, ROTC and pretty much everything else the world had to offer. There was nothing that she didn’t have an opinion on, and always stayed true to herself.

She showed people who she was before they even had to ask, and that is a true rarity to find.

“There are things just extremely specific to her,” Higman said. “Like for example she refused to change how she did her eyebrows. They were filled in too dark for her hair color, which was blonde. Her mom begged her to use a lighter color and she always refused. She wouldn’t even leave the house without them filled in.”

Her mannerisms, strange pronunciations of words and radiant energy are all the things that made Libby the shining light wherever she went, and those closest to her will carry those things with them forever.

“I know she doesn’t want people to be sad right now, so I’m doing all I can to make sure I can help people like she would,” Ackner said. “I want her to know I’m going to take care of her mom for her. I’m never going to let her legacy die.”

She’s always had people that were there for her, and she was always there for others, which is a trait that only the most special people have.

And her impact will always live on, serving as constant reassurance for everyone.

“From now on, whenever I’m upset, I’ll just remember all the positive things she used to say to me. I can hear her voice in the back of my head now, telling me that it’s going to be okay, but I’d give anything to see her and Keith again,” Higman said.

Libby Daniel is and always will be the girl who brings her friend two tubs of ice cream to school and forgets the spoons. She will always be the girl who owns a cardboard cutout of Daniel Radcliffe. And she will always be the girl who helped as many people as she could, leaving them will the knowledge that, even when things are dark, you can always find a light.

“She always said that there was happiness in everything around us, and I’ll never forget that lesson,” Ackner said.