Close friends of a recent graduate of the Florida A&M University School of Nursing took the time to recount the memories of the student who died during the Christmas holiday break.
Jasmine Anitra Stafford, 22, graduated Dec. 15, 2006 with honors and a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing.
Stafford was driving on Interstate 10 Dec. 18 when she lost control of her car and struck two trees. She was seriously injured and flown to Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Ala., where she died two days later on Dec. 20.
Stafford will be remembered as someone who was full of life, said friend Shenika Hamilton, a 2006 FAMU psychology graduate from Miami.
A funeral service was held for Stafford Dec. 23 at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tallahassee.
“It was really disheartening to hear of her passing just days after her pinning ceremony,” said Jaibun Earp, associate dean of the school of nursing.
In memory of Stafford, the school of nursing sent flowers to her family. Classmates who attended Stafford’s funeral were dressed in white nursing robes as a tribute to her hard work and accomplishments.
While at FAMU, Stafford served as a member of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. and the Rho Kappa Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Sorority of Nursing. She was also a member of the National Black Nurses Association and the Gold and White Honor Society.
Cheree Daniels, the director of student affairs for the school of nursing, said she remembers Stafford as the type of person who would take other students under her wings in the pre-nursing program.
“Jasmine didn’t mind helping those who needed a boost,” she said.
Elvina Fleurinord, from Fort Lauderdale, a friend and classmate of Stafford, said Stafford stuck by her during the course of her pregnancy.
“She would baby-sit my child,” Fleurinord, 29, said. “She did that for two other students that I know of. She would even take the children to class with her as a favor to her friends.” Her friends said a defining trait that Stafford possessed was her strong will.
“She wasn’t afraid to recognize when there was a better way to do something,” Daniels said.
Many people admired her for that quality.
“She was headstrong,” Hamilton said. “When she made her mind up, that was it.”
Stafford and her friends would often gather at her house to study and spend time together.
“Jasmine and her mom would cook all the time,” Hamilton said.Hamilton briefly spoke with Stafford’s mother Willia C. Stafford, after hearing of her passing.
Hamilton said Stafford’s mother remained strong throughout the course of the accident and funeral.
“It was just hard to know the struggles we had all been through in the nursing program and to know that something so tragic could happen to her,” Hamilton said.
Several students posted comments on Facebook.com and The Famuan message boards. Here are just a few:
“Jasmine’s spirit is so big! I pray that God keep you and wrap you in his arms of protection! To her family, she is in a better place…stay prayed up and God will ease your pains.” – Erin Washington, TheFamuanOnline.com
“Wow! My love! I love you and will always remember the times that we spent together freshman year! I love you.” – Yolanda Meekins, Facebook.com
“I see it, but I still can’t believe it. It just doesn’t seem fair. We love you Jazz. FAMU Nurses “06.” We did it baby! Rest in Peace.” – FAMU Graduate Nurse ’06
“Jasmine… It feels like yesterday we were at Baldwin talking in the lunchroom about how much we loved peanut butter and honey together. This world already misses you.” – Jason Styres, Facebook.com.