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Friends gather to remember USF student who died in a car accident

Students and faculty gathered together Thursday night to remember Salma “Sally” Kattoura.

Kattoura died Aug. 20 in a one-car accident while driving back to USF from her home in Boynton Beach. The 20-year-old would have been a junior going into the fall semester.

“She was the epitome of the perfect person,” said Nicole Donals, Kattoura’s roommate. “You don’t get any better than her.”

Kattoura was known for her gregarious and loving personality.

“I miss her smile, her laugh, her energy and her beautiful heart,” said friend Morgan Mackel during a special tribute at the memorial.

Mackel and about 40 other people spent the evening in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center ballroom remembering Kattoura. Posters were on display with pictures of Kattoura and her long, black curls. Another poster was also available for friends to write messages to Kattoura’s parents, who were not present at the memorial.

A spokesperson for the Kattoura family, Dyma Musallam, said Kattoura’s mother did not attend because she is “not in the best of health,” and chose not to be “in that environment right now.”

Those who attended the memorial, Musallam said, glazed the somberness of the occasion with light-hearted moments.

“Let’s remember Sally’s signature dance moves that only she could do perfectly,” said Liz Wong, Kattoura’s best friend.

Wong recounted her friendship with Sally from their first meeting when they were freshmen to their last telephone conversation the day before she died.

“I never connected with anyone like I did with Sally and I don’t think I ever will again,” Wong said.

Another of Kattoura’s friends, Danielle Cavalier, sent an important reminder to those present.

“Sally is not gone, she is here with us,” Cavalier said. “If you ever need to talk to her, talk to her. I’ve been talking to her for two weeks and she’s been helping me.”

USF Chapel Services and Student Relations extend their support to Kattoura’s friends.

“Lean on each other,” said chapel minister Jennifer Moreda.

Cavalier added that it is more important to learn from each other. Cavalier suggested that what Kattoura would want everyone to be more caring.

Perhaps, better yet, are Kattoura’s own words, written in a poem before her death, and read at Thursday’s service by Donals:

“Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, and today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved ones tight. So if you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today? For if tomorrow never comes, you’ll surely regret the day.”