Lost gem: 'World will miss her smile'

MONTICELLO — She was the girl with the permanent smile, whether she was talking about church camp or the art project she had just nailed.

To know Chelsea Schofield — as seemingly everyone at Monticello High School did — was to love to have her around, her former principal said Wednesday.

“She was a wonderful student and a gem of Monticello High School,” Tip Reedy said.

“She had an endless smile that would bring happiness to anyone around her.”
Monticello was in mourning Wednesday after hearing the news of Ms. Schofield’s death the night before.  

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Ms. Schofield, 18, died from injuries she received when her Suzuki SUV crashed at 91 E County Road 1675 N, just north of Seymour, at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday.

She was headed west and apparently lost control at a jog in the road, said Champaign County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Sherrick.

She was airlifted to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where she died at 7:47 p.m. Tuesday.

The crash is still under investigation by the coroner and the sheriff’s office. Northrup said. An autopsy was performed Wednesday, but the cause of death is pending while Northrup awaits the results of toxicology and histology tests, he said.

Ms. Schofield graduated from Monticello High School in 2013. She was active in student life and the arts club, and performed in many school plays, Reedy said.

She was a favorite of teachers in the school’s art department, where her work is still on display.

Kevin Rumple taught Ms. Schofield as a sophomore, when she wowed him in Draw/Wood Production class by building a nightstand with her church camp logo on it.

And she topped that as a senior while taking Rumple’s Architectural Drafting class.

“She signed up at the last minute and told me more than once how happy she was to be in the class,” Rumple said Wednesday. “One of the assignments was to build a model to go around the train layout. She chose a saloon. She made most of it out of Popsicle sticks. I remember her carrying it back and forth from school to home in a bag.

“I thought to myself, ‘How is this thing going to turn out when it’s done?’ As you can see (from the project still on display at Monticello), it’s definitely an old western saloon.”

It will remain a part of Monticello’s art room for years to come, instructor Ryan Stripens promised.

“I am truly honored to have known her and to have a piece of her work as a permanent part of the art room,” Stripens said. “The world will miss her smile.”

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