LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A local college student killed in the Paris terror attacks was honored Wednesday night with a special award.

The family of Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, of El Monte received the award on her behalf and say it’s something she should have accepted in person.

But, they say, they’re humbled to take her place.

“She cannot imagine how proud I am to be here to receive this award in her name,” said Beatriz Gonzalez, Nohemi’s mother.

Nohemi was studying abroad with Cal State Long Beach last November, pursuing her degree in industrial design.

She was eating with friends at a Paris bistro when she was shot and killed by terrorists. She was one of 130 victims and was just eight months away from graduating.

It’s something her brother, Juan Duran, says he cannot fathom.

“I’m never going to be able to grasp that that happened to her,” he said.

But how she died wasn’t what was being remembered Wednesday.

Her family says it was her vibrancy and love of learning that made her deserving of the “Outstanding Graduate” award for the College of the Arts.

“I did everything for my daughter in order for her to succeed and she did it,” Gonzalez said.

The family says Nohemi was destined to go on to do great things but now her legacy will live on instead.

“Nohemi will always live in people. She’ll always live in our hearts. I’m very proud, very proud,” Duran said.

Her family is expected to return to campus May 19 to receive her diploma posthumously.


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