A Legacy of Love: Remembering Emelia Yencha


Courtesy of Ashley Richwine

Girls Just Want to Have Fun: Emelia Yencha pictured at Hershey Park with six of her closest friends: (top) Lizzy Frazier, Ashley Richwine, Regan Storm, and (bottom) Ruby Frazier, Maria Franjicic, and Riley Mercado.

Jenna Coller, Editor-in-Chief

Yencha’s senior portrait featured in the 2022-2023 CHS Yearbook.

Emelia Yencha, more affectionately known as “Mia” by her family and peers, was a senior at CHS accepted to Delaware Valley University for their Zoo Science program. She passed away on March 23 2023 surrounded by her closest friends and family.

A major part of Mia’s life revolved around her love of animals. She had an internship at Carlisle Veterinary Clinic and shared her admiration of animals with two of her closest friends Ruby and Elizabeth Frazier. “I volunteer at a cat shelter with my sister and I do it for Mia- in honor of her,” explained Ruby. 

Ashley Richwine, who has been close with Mia for many years explained her as, “love and laughter”.

“I don’t have a single bad memory with her; I always thought we would be friends for a lifetime. She is eternal love,” added Ashley.

To get a deeper understanding of Mia’s life and how she touched others, Periscope Editor-in-Chief Jenna Coller sat down with some of Mia’s friends to ask them a few questions.

JC: How was your relationship with Mia?

Regan Storm: I love Mia so much and she just really let me be my own person and just let loose. She was one of the first people that I had met that just didn’t care about what others thought about her. Not only were we best friends, I would also say she is a huge inspiration for me.

Lizzy Frazier: I met Mia in the summer before 7th grade because she moved around the corner from me. We both played the viola and bonded over how our birthdays are exactly one month apart. We got really close in the last two years and she was always somebody I could rely on.

Riley Mercado: I knew Mia in middle school and we started to get closer junior year because we had English class together and more mutual friends. Spending time with her was always very easy to do- you never had to entertain her,  just being together was enough. 

Maria Franjicic: My relationship with Mia was very special and unique. She was one of those people you could go months without talking to but as soon as you saw her, everything was the same. when we first met, I felt like we instantly clicked and she was so magnetic that I just wanted to be around her all the time. 

JC: What is your favorite memory with her?

Lizzy Frazier: Before junior year we went on a trip to California together and we stayed with my grandmother. We went hiking a lot and on this one night we made a fire even though we weren’t supposed to and we sat around it and read this book about Yosemite National Park out loud to each other. It was really nice to spend that time with her.

Maria Franjicic: I think my favorite memory with her was when I left school without her and she called me in the parking lot and made me turn around and come get her and we blasted music on our way home.

Regan Storm: We went to a ‘Wingin’ It!’ show one time and I had a whole plate of wings- and Mia is vegetarian so she just kept making fun of me the whole night. I was in the middle of eating a wing and she made me laugh so hard that I started choking in the dead silent Wingin’ It show. I just curled up into a ball on her lap and she was basically force feeding me water to make me stop choking, but I was laughing so hard that it was just not helping.

Riley Mercado: One time we went to Red Robin together because it was her favorite restaurant and we just could not stop laughing. She always ordered the same thing too: pretzels with no cheese and steak fries with the seasoning they leave on the table.

Ashley Richwine: One day we spent the entire day together; We went to Target, Red Robin, and Dairy Queen and it really meant a lot to me that she wanted to spend the whole day with me.

Ruby Frazier: During our sophomore year in quarantine, my sister, Mia, and I would walk around our neighborhood and share that valuable time together and I still think about it now every time I go on a walk alone.

The six friends were unanimous in their desire to tell Mia how much they love and miss her.

Ashley Richwine added to this sentiment, “I would tell her I am proud of her. She was so smart and she underestimated herself a lot, but I am so proud of her”.

Expanding on her admiration for Mia, Ruby Frazier said, “I would tell her how beautiful she is- not only on the outside but inside; her soul is so beautiful”.

Mia’s wild and funloving attitude remain a staple in her memory. “She was unlike anyone I had ever met before,” explained Riley Mercado.  “She was so exciting to be around,” she added.

“Mia means a lot to me and she is definitely a really big part of who I am today,” Lizzy Frazier explained. “She brought me out of my comfort zone and made me more carefree. I knew that I was going to be friends with her for the rest of our lives,” she concluded.

The loss of Emelia Yencha has greatly impacted many students at CHS, but her friends agree that it is important to remember that there are people are resources available for anyone who may be struggling with loss or grief.

“Find a support system that works for you and remember that everybody grieves differently,” Ashley Richwine advised.

“Don’t isolate. It is okay to lean on others and be vulnerable,” added Riley Mercado.

Anyone struggling with mental health, loss or grief is encouraged to visit the resources listed on the left side of the page for help. CHS guidance offices are located on the first floor of McGowan and first floor of Swartz. Counselors can be reached through email or Schoology message.