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Kayla Koranda remembered as caring, driven teen

Jackie Koranda spent Thursday night putting together a list of all the activities and achievements of her daughter, Kayla. Two pages in, she's still writing.

Kayla and Kelsey Koranda
Pictured are Kayla Koranda, left, and her older sister, Kelsey. Kayla died in a murder-suicide Monday near Pine Island.

Jackie Koranda spent Thursday night putting together a list of all the activities and achievements of her daughter, Kayla.

Two pages in, she's still writing.

Kayla Koranda, 18, was killed Monday while visiting 19-year-old Nicolas Roecker, a fellow 2013 Rochester Lourdes graduate, who also died from gunshot wounds. The shooting deaths in New Haven Township south of Pine Island have been ruled a murder-suicide, with Roecker shooting Koranda and then turning the gun on himself.

Koranda's older sister, Kelsey, said Kayla was a wonderful baby sister.

"She was a loving, caring, compassionate, spontaneous, intelligent, soulful, nature loving, kind, gracious, thoughtful young woman," said Kelsey, 24. "This list is endless. She was focused, driven, and busy — always looking at what to do next."


After graduating from Lourdes, Koranda attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In May 2013, Koranda was presented with the Julia Bombach Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was created to help students studying to enter health-care related fields.

In addition, she received the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Presidential Scholarship and Elks Club Student of the Month Scholarship. She was accepted into the honors nursing program and planned to become a neonatal nurse.

"She loved children and always wanted to help; just ask the neighborhood kids who got May baskets every year," Kelsey said. "Her first experience with nursingwas in 10th grade when she attended a nursing seminar, a half-day career exploration opportunity. They did CPR on infants and took blood pressures. She came home and said 'That's what I want to do.'"

Koranda was passionate about animals, books, music and baking. Kelsey said her younger sister always had something in the oven, ranging from homemade breads to cookies. She started riding horses at the age of 10 and won many ribbons at horse shows and the county fair. She was a member of 4-H while at Holy Spirit Catholic grade school. She trained llamas and competed in 4-H shows and at the state fair.

Kelsey said Kayla was an avid reader; her bookshelf was filled with everything from fantasy books to poetry collections.

"The Harry Potter books have a special place in her heart, and she owned all the movies as well," Kelsey said. "Along with many series similar to Harry Potter, she read a lot of poetry as well. Her favorite poet was Emily Dickinson."

Koranda started playing flute in fifth grade. She was a member of the Lourdes marching band, pep band, jazz band, concert band and winter drumline and performed in the "Night of Jazz" at Lourdes.

"She loved being in the school plays and musicals and drama club," Kelsey said. "She started theater in seventh grade at Holy Spirit and continued through her senior year. She was editor of the Eagle newspaper, president of PALS and photography club president."


Since Monday, the family has received condolences from many people who met Kayla.

"Kayla loved college life. She made many friends," Kelsey said. "She played in the U of M pep band, played intramural volleyball and was a member of the Minnesota Brass Indoor Drumline. After Christmas break, Kayla was to start volunteering at Amplatz Children's Hospital."

The funeral Mass for Koranda will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Rochester.

Attempts to reach the family of Nicholas Roecker were unsuccessful.

Kayla Koranda 12-13.jpg
Kayla Koranda

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