Students, friends and family spoke at John Barsby Secondary School on Tuesday, May 2, paying tribute by writing notes of love and support and sharing their stories of Chang.
Student Danae Iveson didn't know her for long, but said she made a big impression.
“It really breaks my heart because she was one of the only people that I've ever met that reached out to (you) as soon as you met her. She always had something to say. Even if you said something that was awkward, she'd try to respond just to make you feel better,” Iveson said.
With students and parents from across Nanaimo at the gathering, as well as many media outlets, a former best friend of Chang's said it was a surreal event.
Keanna Hoorn, who knew Chang when they were younger, said she's seen emotions among classmates and other kids her age run the gamut, from some people being distant and cold about the disappearance to others being emotionally affected and heartbroken.
“I've never even known someone that's known someone who's gone missing,” Hoorn said. “It's so weird. To see pictures of her makes me tear up, because it's so surreal.”
Chang's grandmother Dolly was there, given flowers and numerous kind words of support.
She said it's been an emotionally draining six weeks and she's nervous every time the phone rings because it could either be the best or worst news she's ever received.
The RCMP investigation into Chang's disappearance continues. She's described as 5'1”, 110 lbs. with dyed red hair and hazel eyes. She's reported to often wear wigs and sometimes presents as a man.
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