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Halifax teen killed in crash remembered through bursary program

WATCH: Caleb Doary, 17, was killed in a head-on collision in Halifax last November. This week, his family presented a bursary in his name to his classmate at Halifax West High School. Julia Wong reports.

HALIFAX – A Halifax woman hopes to keep the memory of her 17-year-old brother alive through a bursary at a local high school.

Last November, Caleb Doary was killed in a head-on collision near the off-ramp of the 102 and North West Arm Drive. He was a student at Halifax West High School.

“It’s my little brother. You never think anything like that is going to happen to you,” said Melissa Doary, 21, with her voice wavering.

“Even now sometimes it just hits you really hard how permanent it is. Sometimes you still look at the front door and you still think he’s going to walk through.”

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Melissa recalls the last words she ever received from Caleb.

“Caleb said ‘I love you too sis. I’ll see you soon.’ That was the last text I have. I still have it saved,” she said.

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A picture of the Doary family. Caleb is pictured on the far left. Contributed/Melissa Doary
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An undated picture of Melissa and Caleb Doary. Contributed/Melissa Doary
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An undated picture of Caleb and Melissa Doary. Contributed/Melissa Doary
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A fundraiser is held to raise money for the Caleb Doary Memorial Bursary. Contributed/Melissa Doary
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Alex Roberts is the first recipient of the Caleb Doary Memorial Bursary. Contributed/Melissa Doary
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An undated picture of Alex Roberts and Caleb Doary. Contributed/Melissa Doary

Melissa describes her brother as kind-hearted and caring.

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“He had so much strength. He never cared about popularity. He always did stuff to help. He cared about people but he didn’t want anything in return,” she said.

She said he was adventurous but also had a love of learning.

“It started off with sports. It turned into creating a chess team at school, joining the debate club and starting rock climbing,” she said. “I’d come home and he’d be reading my dad’s fifth year engineering textbook.”

The family started a bursary program at Halifax West in Caleb’s memory. The first $500 bursary was given out this week at what would have been Caleb’s grade 12 graduation ceremony.

“I just wanted more and more people to know how incredible he was. I wanted him to be remembered,” she said.

Classmate remembers Caleb

Alex Roberts, 18, is the first bursary recipient. He met Caleb two years ago.

He said the two became fast friends, bonded over their shared love of rock climbing and even did an exchange program together last summer.

“He was a great guy, always nice to people. He was kind, funny. He had a great smile,” he said.

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Alex said he could feel Caleb’s absence as he finished his grade 12 year.

“The rest of the school year, it was different. It’s hard to have an empty seat next to you,” he said.

Alex said it came as a surprise when his name was announced as the bursary winner.

“It was a great honour to receive it. He will never be forgotten by me and, I know, by many others,” he said.

He plans to remember his former classmate however he can.

“To keep on living with things he would do and keep on going and doing all the great things. He was kind to people and generous so be kind and generous and just keep living,” he said.

Melissa said she plans to award the bursary for the next 10 years.

“I think he’d be proud of me. I think he would be happy about it,” she said as she wiped away tears, adding she feels the memory of her brother gives her the strength to move forward in her life.

“I’m just doing it for him. It’s a good feeling he’ll be there and people will learn about his story. He was such a great person and he made it better to be here. If people can take a little bit from that, I think the world would be a bit better.”

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