Classmates grieve after girl hit by car



Tracey Tong/metro ottawa/Inset: R.I.P. CELINE FACEBOOK GROUP PHOTO


Students and staff at Notre Dame High School set up a memorial to Celine Nguyen in the school’s chapel yesterday. Inset: Nguyen, shown in a photo from a Facebook group, was an aspiring model.

The closest friends of a 16-year-old Notre Dame High School student killed after being struck by a car struggled yesterday to cope with her sudden death.

Hundreds of students, many of them sobbing, visited the west-end school’s chapel where a memorial had been set up to remember Celine Nguyen, an aspiring model and a happy teenager who loved food, quoting Borat, and being with her friends.

“At first, we were just crying,” said Grade 11 student Albert Mai, 16, one of Nguyen’s closest friends. “And then we started talking and sharing memories of her. It felt good crying with someone other than myself.”

Nguyen was struck while crossing Carling Avenue at Broadview just before noon Tuesday. She was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and later died.

Nguyen had told Mai she was headed to lunch at Geeland, a restaurant near the school. Mai later heard about the incident and tried to visit her at the hospital, but he was too late.

“They said not to bother going up there, because she was already gone,” said Mai, who opened a Facebook memorial site for her.

Friend Philippe Ste. Marie remembered Nguyen as always being happy. “She had the biggest smile. It just took over her face. She was very loud and outgoing. And she was nice and kind to everyone.”

Although modelling was her priority, Nguyen also wanted to open her own nail salon, Mai said. Nguyen, who lived with her parents, four sisters and one brother, was close with her family.

Chaplain Maureen Dufour encouraged students to write memories of their friend in a journal to be given to the family. Students brought bouquets of flowers, photos, letters and cards, which they left at a memorial table.

“It’s very tragic, very sad,” said principal André Potvin. “It’s such a waste.”

Grief counsellors will be at the school for as long as needed, said Ottawa Catholic School Board spokeswoman Lauren Rocque.


  • The school is planning a memorial for Nguyen as well and police said yesterday the investigation into the collision is continuing.