DEKALB, Ill. – Two dreamed of becoming teachers. Another gave friends rides to class and helped them with homework. One served in the military.
The five students killed when a gunman opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University Thursday afternoon were at college to begin building their dreams. On Friday, friends and family mourned them and remembered the effect they had on those they met.
Daniel "Danny" Parmenter was the kind of person who was always helping others out. He was always offering people rides to class, helping friends with homework or doing community service, said Pi Kappa Alpha chapter president Jason Garcia.
The 20-year-old sophomore from Westchester was studying finance at NIU, and sold ads for the campus newspaper. The paper's adviser, Maria Krull, described him as a "gentle giant."
The last time she saw him, he was stretched out on "an old beat-up couch" in the newspaper's offices. She teased him about having his feet on the furniture. "I said, 'Danny, you know better than that."'
"The thing about Danny was, if he was in the office and I needed something done, I just had to mention it to him and he would do it," Krull said. "I knew I didn't have to worry."
The youngest of four siblings in a family from Guadalajara, Mexico, Catalina Garcia's family settled in suburban Cicero, west of Chicago.
The 20-year-old wanted to become a teacher, something her family admired.
"She was adored by our family because she wanted to become somebody in life — that's what she was going to school," her father, Jacinto Garcia, told Spanish-language radio station WOJO-FM, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
She was a 2006 graduate of Morton East High School, where she belonged to the Yearbook Club and a campus dance group. She was shy, very bright and a good student, recalled Michael Parrie, her chemistry teacher junior year.
"She always had a smile on her face, such a positive attitude and outlook on life. It was contagious," Parrie said.
Just before Valentine's Day, Ryanne Mace posted a note for her friends on her MySpace page: "Happy Valentine's Day Everybody! ... Saying you love someone is not enough, it's how you treat them that shows your true feelings."
The 19-year-old sophomore from Carpentersville was studying psychology at the university.
Her mother, Mary Kay Mace, said she and her husband named their only child Ryanne, and pronounced it like the boy's name Ryan, because "we thought we were having a boy."
"She was beautiful and brilliant and caring," Mace said of her daughter. "She wanted to start a career helping people. She was in psychology to become a counselor. She was our only child, the light of our lives."
Julianna Gehant wasn't a certified teacher yet, but already she had people who couldn't wait to see her become one.
The 32-year-old from Meriden came to Northern Illinois University after a stint in the U.S. Army, where she taught construction. She wanted to teach elementary school.
She kept in touch with her teachers at her high school, Mendota Township High. Retired drama teacher Dave Schroeder remembered her an openhearted young woman with a keen sense of humor and warm laugh. In her 2007 Christmas card, she wrote, "I have four more semesters until I'm qualified to teach second graders."
"I told her I wanted to be one of the first ones to give her a recommendation" for the job, he said. "It's just a terrible loss," Schroeder said.
Dubowski, 20, of Carol Stream, was a sophomore at NIU. "She was a good person with a big heart," said a friend, Kelly Cavanaugh, who met her at the DeKalb Church of Christ.
Dubowski graduated from Glenbard North High School in 2006 where she sang in the choir, said Principal John Mensik. Teachers were in tears Friday morning when they heard the news, Mensik said.
"She worked as a teacher's aide for some of the teachers," the principal said. "She was a very positive student. ... She touched people."
Amanda Kent, 21, a fellow NIU student, said she was in Dubowski's second year Russian class and saw her Thursday before the shooting.