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Friday, April 12, 2024
<p>Jade Guzzo, a 20-year-old architecture junior, died Sunday night when her SUV flipped on Florida's Turnpike.</p>

Jade Guzzo, a 20-year-old architecture junior, died Sunday night when her SUV flipped on Florida's Turnpike.

Something is missing from Studio 216.

There's a silence that hovers over the nearly empty architecture studio. A certain unreserved laugh isn't there. Neon outfits no longer grace one of the desks closest to the studio's window.

Some students can't bear to work in the silence - it reminds them Jade Guzzo isn't there.

The 20-year-old architecture junior died Sunday night when her SUV flipped on Florida's Turnpike, according to a Florida Highway Patrol news release.

She was driving back to Gainesville on Sunday from the Thanksgiving break. The 1995 Isuzu Rodeo she was driving drifted off the road while she was traveling through Osceola County around 9 p.m. She turned the wheel but overcorrected. The SUV flipped several times. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

She and a passenger, who is recovering from her injuries, were both wearing their seatbelts. Alcohol was not involved.

Her architecture classmates were among the first to hear about her death. They went into the hallway, sat down and cried together, said Jessica Elliott, a 20-year-old architecture junior.

"There's a special bond that forms among architecture students," Elliott said. Once you spend more time in a studio than you spend at home, your classmates become more than acquaintances.

"It becomes a second home to most people, if not a first home," she said. "It's like losing a member of the family."

Her desk has been left the way it was when Guzzo left for the Thanksgiving break.

The only change is two roses, a yellow one and a white one with red edges, that now sit in her cup of pens.

Pull open a drawer, and you'll see a bag of paints and a disheveled ball of green and pink rubber bands. Pieces of cut cardboard and a sketch on tracing paper are scattered on the desktop.

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There was a method to the mess, said her friend Caleb Generoso.

He said she was the type of person to run with an idea as soon as she thought of it.

"She's always rambunctious," said Generoso, a 20-year-old architecture junior. "She just kind of goes with it. I think her work says that too. ... She draws them so quick because it's whatever she's thinking right then."

Her friends put up a memorial with 48 pieces of her work on the second floor of the Fine Arts building, down the hall from her studio.

The sketches, part of a final class project, are aerial shots of a research complex. While some students favor perfectly straight edges and meticulous detail, Guzzo preferred to draw flowing, interconnecting lines of yellow and purple.

"She's the only person brave enough to use pastels in an architecture drawing," Generoso said.

Elliott said Guzzo's personality was as vibrant as her work.

"She's always the brightest and the loudest, but she was always so big with everything," she said. "She was amazing."

Margarita Martins, a 22-year-old architecture senior, said Guzzo was always upbeat.

"She was one of those people that, no matter how hard of a day she had, she would always be smiling," Martins said.

After Generoso heard about her death, he said, he knew traditional mourning colors wouldn't be enough to honor a woman who embodied glitter and neon.

"I just looked for the most colorful stuff I could find," he said, clad in a yellow undershirt and a yellow-and-white button-up shirt. "I felt it wouldn't be appropriate to wear black or gray today because that's what she left behind, but what she brought in was color."

In her spare time, which her friend Jesse Mantohac said is hard to come by as an architecture student, Guzzo ran half-marathons. She would sometimes rush to class in her running clothes.

She had dreams of designing an art gallery to house the art she painted in her free time, Mantohac said.

Generoso said the studio will be too quiet without her laugh - one that was always full of life.

He said it could be heard at least two doors down, and it became part of the daily studio sounds for every student.

"Everything can be said about her personality if you just hear her laugh," he said. "To continue on this final week knowing she won't be at her desk, it's really unreal."

A memorial in Delray Beach is planned for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, 840 George Bush Blvd.

Jade Guzzo, a 20-year-old architecture junior, died Sunday night when her SUV flipped on Florida's Turnpike.

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