Pia Days - UNC Chapel Hill Professional Actor Training Program-MFA

Where do I begin? For starters, I first met Karen at Chapel Hill. My first memory of her was her audition. She blew it away! I even questioned why she even needed grad school. She was just that fierce. Then, I began to know her and how meticulously she trained for everything. Not only was she a powerhouse actress, she was a trained vocalist too! There was no fudging it with her. She put in the work. To even be in her stratosphere, you had better try to best. Then, to know her as a friend and classmate, I knew that she longed to learn. She longed to turn every stone. She made us all grow.

Then, there was silly Karen. The girl I cackled with while getting pedicures in New York. The girl I tried to teach urban slang, particularly, "I'm down wit dat.", hand gestures and all. So, she didn't perfect it. But, she kept trying. That was Karen. Even if it wasn't in her comfort zone, she definitely was going to try, then laugh, then try again. Which brings me to Todd.

She wasn't a runner. She actually didn't like it much at all, but I remember her telling me a story of how she knew that Todd was an avid runner. So, she bought tennis shoes and joined him for runs to get to know him. See, if there was anything she was going to fudge it for, anything that she was going to blindly sprint towards, it was love. And well, it worked! She hooked him and then ditched those shoes, for good. Well, she picked them back up eventually towards causes that she cared about, but it began with Todd.

If there's anything that Zoe and Tate should know, it's that she has always been a fighter, hard worker; professional, witty, present and steadfast. She fully embraced each day and challenge head on, in her own charming way, connecting with each person and situation presented to her. She was brave and valiant. She was a champion striving towards an obstacle where most would crumble. If there was anything to be done, she was the one without hesitation that would see it to fruition. She did everything possible to live her best life. She lived her life with love. 

The CD from her wedding plays over and over again in my mind, as it did in my car, traveling cross country after graduation. "Blackbird Singing In The Dead of Night" and her own poignant rendition of "Waitin'" is how I will remember her; through song, cherished memories, her smile and beautiful eyes.

Continue to live each day fully, learning, embracing life and your surroundings. Continue to be your very best, as Karen did so very well.