Andrea Rebello was remembered during Hofstra University’s commencement on Sunday. The ceremony halted while students honored the slain student with a moment of silence.
While commencement is normally devoted to celebrations of excellence in academics, Hofstra’s took on a more somber tone in light of the accidental shooting of Rebello early Friday morning.
Rebello was accidentally shot by a police office during a home invasion standoff. The officer fired eight bullets at the intruder. Seven of them struck the suspect, while one accidentally hit Andrea.
In remembrance, roughly 700 undergrad students wore white memorial pins on their royal blue robes as they accepted their diplomas. Rebello’s friend, Talia Sperandio, who wrote “RIP Andrea,” on her mortarboard, stated, “It’s not going to ever be the same without her. She was a beautiful girl inside and out, and I know she’s watching down on us.”
While Andrea Rebello would not have graduated this year, the Hofstra junior was set to attend the commencement to cheer on her fellow sorority sisters. The ceremony began with a moment of silence for Rebello, followed with Hofstra’s president reading one of the woman’s favorite quotes, “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”
Commencement came the day after flags on campus stood at half-staff while students held a silent outdoor vigil in the evening in front of a photo of Rebello. While surrounded with candles and flowers, students started singing, “Ave Maria.”
US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) spoke at commencement. He started out the speech by saying:
“Usually I give a happy little speech about getting dumped by my girlfriend at graduation and how I overcame it. But I am sure you, like me, have conflicting and mixed emotions this morning. We feel shocked and horrible about Andrea’s loss, but it’s a very proud day of accomplishments for all of you and all of your families.”
Meanwhile, Andrea Rebello’s family spent the day mourning for her inside their home in Tarrytown, New York.