There were tears and hugs when a flight from Cancun arrived at the Halifax airport Wednesday night carrying the classmates of Sydney Taylor, the 21-year-old Acadia University student who died in Mexico on a graduation trip earlier this week.
Police in Mexico said Taylor fell from a third-storey balcony and died of a traumatic head injury on Tuesday while vacationing with friends. They said alcohol was a factor.
Taylor was among a group of more than 120 students from the Wolfville university staying at the Hotel Gran Caribe Royal. Parents and university officials greeted the returning students at the airport.
University president Ray Ivany boarded the plane to talk to the students.
"They’ve been through a traumatic 24 hours," he said. "Getting back home is pretty emotional for them. It’s going to be difficult. I mean, we all knew Sydney, and she was a wonderful young woman, a wonderful student. The next couple of days with convocation is going to be a challenge for the whole community."
Ivany said the students are concerned about Taylor’s family and were asking questions about them.
The university said it’s still trying to figure out how to honour her memory during this weekend's convocation.
"Sydney’s father specifically requested that we both honour her memory and give the students a chance to celebrate their accomplishments, because that’s what she would have wanted,’ said Ivany.
Taylor would have graduated with honours in political science.