Norwalk students remember teen who died of rare disorder

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NORWALK, Ohio-- Fifteen-year-old Margaret Swanbeck was an excellent writer. So good her teachers say she was taking senior-level classes in her sophomore year.

It's fitting that her classmates would write about their friend. Not just a line or two, but paragraphs describing a funny moment or an instance she helped someone get through a tough time.

“Margaret was really vivacious and an open-minded individual. She encouraged others, but not only that, she advocated for them," said her friend Anah Freeman

Margaret died Wednesday from a condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. It’s a very rare reaction to medications. She had been ill for nearly a month.

Her passing hit the students at Norwalk High School very hard.

Her friends said she seemed to live in the performing arts side of the school. She was an artist, a writer, a singer and even someone everyone called the band mom.

But more importantly she called everyone friend.

“Even if you weren’t close friends with her, everybody knows how she was how quirky. She touched everyone in this school somehow. She was hilarious," said her friend Colleen Miller.

Her pastor and family friend Amy Little said Margaret loved being her own person.

“She would wear flower wreaths around her hair and camo jackets, and all sorts of things that most folks wouldn't put together. But she didn't care. She was a free spirit, but incredibly intelligent and incredibly caring," Little said.

There are roughly 840 students of all grades at Norwalk High. To say that Margaret touched everyone's life here is not a stretch.

“She was just so caring and she just made sure everyone was OK," her art teacher Tracy VanBuskirk said. “We can sit and tell stories, and we're OK. She's gone, but we're OK. She's still doing this, she's still taking care of us."

Services for Margaret Swanbeck will be next Tuesday in Vermilion.

Norwalk High School