Friends remember the late Sefakor Mensah

Julia Perkins

Twenty five friends stood silently on the beach after sunset, each holding onto the string of a flower-shaped balloon covered in writing. They released the balloon into the sky as a memoriam to their late friend Sefakor Mensah, who passed away in a car accident on July 14.

A sophomore biology major from Monroe Township, N.J., Mensah’s friends remember her as a sweet, honest, witty and fun friend. Among her interests were animals, “Grey’s Anatomy,” dance and volleyball, her friends said.  

According to the Manchester Township Police, on the evening of Sunday July 14, sophomore Alexandra Peroni was driving northbound on County Road 539 in Manchester Township, N.J., with sophomore Danielle Godley in the passenger seat and Mensah in the back. Shannon Fenton of Brant Beach, N.J., who was driving southbound, crossed into Peroni’s lane and hit a BMW 23 convertible and then Peroni’s car.

Peroni fractured both her elbows and ankles, and Godley injured her chest, arm and legs, according to Manchester Township Police. Claire Kinsella of New York, the driver of the BMW 23 convertible, suffered head and chest injuries.   

Mensah passed away at the Community Medical Center in Toms River, N.J. due to injuries.

Fenton also passed away at Jersey Shore Medical Hospital on Monday morning.

“I wish I were able to explain Mensah to others in such limited space but I simply cannot,” Jamie Kazar of Monroe Township said. “Basically, Sef was inherently too good for this world we find ourselves in. She was an African princess, and she fit the title perfectly.”

Broadcast journalism major Stephanie Fasano from Monroe Township is good friends with Mensah’s brother and grew closer to Mensah over the years she said.

“Everyone just loved her and it was really hard to not like her because she was just such a good person,” she said. “If she wanted you to know something, she’d tell you. She wouldn’t do anything behind your back. She was awesome to everyone, her brother’s friends, to her own friends, to anyone that she met for the first time.”

 Julianne Dinsmore from Monroe Township said that Mensah lifted everyone’s spirits.

 “Her smile was as bright as the morning sun,” Dinsmore said. “Her laugh could instantly make you happy because it was so full of joy. I think my favorite memory of her laugh is when we went down to our friend’s house down the shore and she could not stop laughing for the longest time. We even took a video of her it lasted so long. In that moment, you could sense her happiness, her bliss.”

 Mensah gave the best advice, her friends said.

 “You took your problems to Sef,” Caroline Faraone of Monroe Township said. “She was just the one that you went to and she would just reassure you like ‘everything is going to be okay.’ She’s the go-to.”

 From the time she was 7 until the end of her junior year of high school, Mensah danced at Old Bridge School of Dance in Matawan, N.J., fellow dancer Erika Katz said. There the other dancers became like her family.

 “For me personally, I’m an only child and Sef was like a sister,” Alina Alverio from Old Bridge School of Dance said. “The friendship I shared with her and our other friends was not just a friendship. We were family. We would do anything for each [other]. We talked about our future and growing old together and having our kids grow up together.” 

Mensah aspired to be a doctor, Jacqueline Racine from Monroe Township said.

“She had her heart set on that for a long time,” Racine said. “The craziest thing is that she died in a situation that she would have been helping someone, she would have been saving someone’s life from later on.”

Mensah did not like to go to the beach during the day, which is why her friends chose to meet at the beach after sunset to remember her, Alexa Fucito of Monroe Township said.

“When we were at the beach that night I felt so close to Sef, I felt she was there with us,” Fucito said. “That same night I saw a shooting star that went right across the ocean. It was amazing to know that even though she isn’t here physically, she’ll still always be here with us.”

Katz believes Mensah’s short life was meant to teach everyone a lesson.

“She showed me how precious life is and to take nothing for granted,” Katz said. “I am eternally grateful that our paths crossed those many years ago and for our close relationship that only grew stronger as time went on. I’ll love her forever and know she’s always right by my side when I need her.”