Hope Sega was to turn 19 today. But instead of celebrating her birthday, her family is gathering to remember the recent Elsie Allen High School graduate, known as a gregarious and strong-willed woman.
Sega died Sunday after falling unconscious, having ingested drugs, and could not be revived. The medical examiner has not yet determined how she died.
Sega was going through a time of experimentation that her family hoped she would outgrow, said her mother, Mary Sega of Santa Rosa.
The talkative teen was incredibly social and upbeat, known for making an extra effort to bring shy people into the fold, her mother said. Sega's ease with befriending people is a story her family has heard repeated from many friends who have contacted the family following her death.
"It is soothing to our soul that our daughter cared so much about people," Mary Sega said. "She impacted our lives too. She just got off track, and took a path that wasn't her calling."
In addition to her mother, Sega is survived by her father Hama Sega, brother Tama Samoa Sega and a close, extended Samoa Polynesian family in Sonoma County, Alaska, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Samoa and Texas.
Sega attended Bellevue Elementary School, Lawrence Cook Middle School and studied for three years at Rancho Cotate High School before graduating from Elsie Allen in 2012.
At Elsie Allen, she was a member of the photography and Food for Thought clubs and the girls golf team, principal Mary Gail Stablein said. She was pictured in her senior yearbook working on a project for a psychology class and performing in a drama class production of "The Miracle Worker."
"We have lost a vibrant, enthusiastic, and compassionate Lobo and she will be greatly missed," Stablein said. "Our prayers go out to her family."
She played in a football league until she injured her knee and competed in shot put in track.