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Foothill High grad remembered as a "light" in the music room after being murdered

Foothill High School graduate and musician, Sarah Papenheim at her high school graduation in 2015.

Foothill High School staff and alumni say the music community lost a light, as one of their graduates and well known musicians was stabbed to death Wednesday overseas.

Wednesday, Rotterdam Police found 21-year-old Sarah Papenheim's body inside her apartment in the Netherlands, close by to where she was attending college at Erasmus University.

Her mother, Donee Odegard, says she was beaten and stabbed to death by her roommate.

Papenheim graduated from Foothill High School in 2015. Her former teacher, Mitch Bahr, said it was in the music room on the Foothill campus where Papenheim began developing her talent as a female drummer.

"It was a real drive for her to want to be a great female drummer, not just be that girl drummer but be an excellent female drummer and she did that very well," Bahr said.

Bahr said Papenheim practiced for hours each day on campus. He said music was her outlet. "Music put her back on focus and gave her a real clear direction in her life," Bahr added.

Bahr said Papenheim liked to play Jazz, Blues and many different genres of music, but her advancements as a female drummer went far beyond the chart notes.

"She found people to play with and bands to be involved with. Some music was just wherever she was in the world, it was a constant. My memory of Sarah mostly from the musical perspective will be how intently she listened and watched me during a show we do called Club Cougar," Bahr said.

From Club Cougar, Papenheim continued to play drums in Minnesota and she played while studying abroad in the Netherlands. People who knew her say she was the happiest while playing the drums.

Bahr said Papenheim's life was not always easy.

Her brother committed suicide two years ago, a loss the family is still grappling with. Bahr said Papenheim struggled with the death of her brother as well. He said she wanted to study psychology so she could help people going through the same battle of emotions.

"I can't even really talk about this and there is a lot of people in the community who, this is unspeakable for parents to lose both their children. I just said, not to be religious but if you are a praying person and you don't know what to do, pray for the parents because it's a devastating, so crushing loss and we are all praying for you and those of you who think good thoughts, we're thinking of you and this community hurts for both of you," Bahr said.

Foothill High School would like Papenheim's family to know she will always be remembered as a "light" on the Foothill campus.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay to bring Sarah home. If you would like to donate, click here.

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