Friends describe her as perfect with a beautiful smile, kind to everyone and always willing to help.
But Andrea Barlow knew she wasn'tperfect. She was at peace with herself, and perhaps that's why people loved to be around her.
At her funeral yesterday, a friend read from Andrea's journal, inwhich she wrote of her faith in God.
"You have taught me that I do not need to be a perfect person and things will work out."
Andrea, a 16-year old junior at Centennial High School in Ellicott City, died Sunday from massive head injuries suffered in a car crash Friday while she was on her way to school with two friends.
Police said Andrea was driving a Honda Accord, heading for the school about 8 a.m.when her car was struck broadside by a pickup truck at Centennial Lane and Waterford Drive.
Andrea and Jodi Meitl, 16, were taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center at University Hospital in Baltimore. The third passenger, Theresa Tadros, also 16, was treated for minor injuries at Howard County General Hospital. The three girls had been friends since the fourth grade.
About 500 people crowded into St. John's Episcopal Church to say goodbye to Andrea, an A-student and athlete at Centennial.
Her closest girlfriends walked into the churchcarrying pink roses. Jodi, still a shock trauma patient, attended her friend's funeral in a wheelchair.
"She just had an incredible joy in living, she was always smiling," said Linda Blakeslee, Andrea's social studies teacher at Centennial.
"She was such an active member of the class in terms of participation, I'm sure her absence will change the whole complexion of my class."
Blakeslee said Andrea was interested in studying communications and wanted to volunteer in the social work field this summer.
Andrea, a member of the National Honor Society, played on the varsity volleyball team this year and onthe junior varsity team in her freshman and sophomore years.
She was a member of the Student Government Association and the Junior Class Board. She tutored children for the Thomas More Project at Mount Hebron High School and served as an assistant in the county Special Olympics for special education students.
Friends who called at the Witzke funeral home Monday night pored over Andrea's pictures, poems and letters that had been placed around the room by her family.
Classmates laughed and cried as they looked through a shoe box filled with pictures of a smiling Andrea, Valentine's Day cards, poems, a letter to a depressed friend and a clipped Dave Barry column entitled, "What Guys are Really Thinking."
On a table was Kahlil Gibran's bookof poems, "The Prophet," a present from Andrea's mother. The inscription read, "To Andrea, on her sixteenth birthday, to help you grow strong and wise."
Andrea is survived by her parents, R. Bruce Barlowand Joan Barlow, and her grandparents, Lillian and Leander Dailey and Craig and Penelope Barlow.
Contributions may be made in Andrea'smemory to two scholarships established in her name:
The Andrea Barlow Scholarship, care of Centennial High School, 4300 Centennial Lane, Ellicott City 21043.
The Andrea Barlow Scholarship, The Thomas More Project, care of Mount Hebron High School, 9440 Route 99, Old Frederick Road, Ellicott City 21043.
School officials say the site of Andrea's accident has long been a source of concern.
On Monday, county traffic officials investigated the intersection, where severalaccidents have occurred, but no changes are planned at this time. There have been several accidents on the portion of Centennial Lane outside the school, a busy road with poor visibility in sections.
"The problem appears to be the inexperience of the drivers involved," said George Frangos, a county traffic engineer. "All the incidents haveinvolved high school students."
Currently, the intersection is marked by a flashing light, and the speed limit is reduced from 40 to 25 during morning and afternoon hours when the school is opening and closing, Frangos said.