Friends, family remember Walter Johnson grad
Race will raise money for memorial scholarship
As thousands of high school seniors steam their gowns, straighten their tassels and prepare to leap to the next stage of life, friends and family of one Walter Johnson alumna remember a life of aspiration and potential cut short.
Celine Silver was 22, a recent college graduate on her way from a marine biology internship in Florida to a job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration near her North Bethesda home, when a truck on Interstate 95 in North Carolina smashed into the car carrying her and her father, Paul, killing them both in the summer of 2009.
"One of the hardest things is, as you grow up, your siblings become your best friends," said Celine's older sister, Karen Silver, 26. "She taught me a lot about having fun and being relaxed, but also being dedicated to the things that are important to you."
These days, one of the most important things to Karen Silver and her mother, Nathalie Valette-Silver, is keeping alive the memory of Celine and Paul. The family has sponsored a scholarship at Celine's alma mater since the crash and this year hopes to start a tradition that will raise money for the award and bring together the people who knew the Silvers best.
The first Paul and Celine Silver 5K race takes place Saturday at Tilden Woods Park, in the neighborhood where both Celine and Paul were part of the community's fabric.
Paul, a scientist, was an active member of the neighborhood association. Celine, an avid swimmer through high school, taught children how to swim in the community's pool.
"They were very open, social people," Silver said. "Being surrounded with friends, with community was important to them."
After graduating from Walter Johnson in 2005, Celine went on to earn a bachelor's in biology and minor in art at Emory University in Atlanta. She had completed an internship at MOTE Marine Laboratory, in Sarasota, Fla., and had a job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where her mother worked, waiting for her.
In addition to her academic merits, Celine was an artist, an athlete and a friend with an uncanny ability to put others at ease, said one childhood friend, Kathy Orellana.
"She was just so goofy," said Orellana, 23, of North Bethesda. The two became friends at age 12 and grew up together through high school and continued to meet up at home on college breaks.
"There was a group of four of us she was always the one to put us at ease with any quirk or comment," Orellana said.
The Paul and Celine Silver Memorial 5K will take place 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Tilden Woods Park, 6800 Tilden Lane, Potomac.
Day-of registration opens at
9 a.m. Cost is $25.
Proceeds benefit the Paul and Celine Silver memorial scholarships at Walter Johnson High School.
For details call Karen Silver at 301-928-6741 or Gerri
Diamond at 240-418-5088.