Emily Weyers wanted to turn a personal fight for equality into her career. The 18-year-old Dundee-Crown High School grad was planning to start in DePaul University's political science program next month and eventually focus on gay rights legal issues.
But Weyers, of Lake in the Hills, got her plans cut short Monday night when she was hit and killed while walking down Algonquin Road near Oakleaf Road.
Lake in the Hills police said she was treated at the scene shortly before 10 p.m. but pronounced dead at Sherman Hospital in Elgin.
Tributes are already being planned by those who knew and loved Weyers. Students at Dundee-Crown High School started art projects Tuesday morning, hanging some up in the cafeteria by midday to celebrate Weyers' life.
Associate Principal Chris Columbaro said Weyers was active in Dundee-Crown's marching band and color guard, did a self-directed play, co-founded an LGBT-plus club, and was an active member of the anime club.
"She was a really well-rounded individual who really embraced her high school experience and got a lot out of it," Columbaro said.
Weyers actively participated in the Dundee-Crown Women's Rights Coalition and was still involved this summer, months after she graduated. She also planned to continue with Allegiance Color Guard, where she performed year-round for three years, forming family-like bonds with her two dozen or so teammates.
Eric Hall, founder and director of the group, said Weyers had a lust for life and was one of the brightest, most spirited members of the team. The teen won Allegiance Color Guard's annual spirit award twice.
"She didn't have a full life, but she lived life to the fullest," Hall said. "She was just one of the most positive, high-energy, high-spirited individuals that I've ever worked with."
The 30-member organization was reeling Tuesday, along with the rest of Weyers' network. She was mentioned across the social media world by friends and family members in mourning.
Students and staff members at Dundee-Crown High School took advantage of grief counseling throughout the day. Guidance counselor Jason Johnson said some students stayed two to three hours, others stayed two to three minutes. Many of them wrote personal letters to Weyers' family or contributed to art tributes that will be on display in the school.
Grief support will remain available to students and teachers who need it, and parents are encouraged to contact school counselors if there is any concern about their children's coping.
Lake in the Hills police were investigating the circumstances leading up to Weyers' death Tuesday but did not release any information about possible charges. Christian Núñez, an 18-year-old Carpentersville man, was driving the 2001 Dodge Intrepid that killed Weyers.