About Ashley

- Ashley Soulé Conroy, 5th Grade.
(Click on image above to see full-size rendering of the original)

"In my imagination,
I am in a place where
man has not walked, where
there are no limits to what
I do or think. I am free.
I can fly to the highest mountain
or swim to the bottom of
the deepest ocean.
In this world of my imagination,
there is no crime or pollution only
mountains of dreams and
billions of rivers and streams.
In my imagination there is peace."

Ashley Soulé Conroy was born on September 17, 1984, the daughter of Stephen Conroy and Cynthia P. Schmidt, and sister of Brooke, Emma and Lily. From pre-kindergarten through high school, Ashley attended St. Martin's Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana. In high school, Ashley was a high academic achiever and excellent volleyball player. She was an All-State and All-Metro Volleyball Star and co-captain of the Volleyball team. She was elected Homecoming Queen in her Senior year. She was also a talented artist, who loved drawing. Ashley was the oldest of four sisters.

Upon graduation, Ashley attended College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where she was placed in the Distinguished Category for Faculty Honors and accepted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She was also employed part-time at Meritage, a restaurant in Charleston where her co-workers were like a second family. Her parents were so proud that she was able to maintain high academic excellence even though she worked thirty hours per week at the restaurant.

While at College of Charleston, Ashley was a Psychology Major with a Minor in Religious Studies. An avid yoga practitioner, Ashley decided that she wanted to study in India. In her application essay to study abroad, Ashley wrote: "I've been practicing yoga for a couple of years now, which is one reason why I would love to go to India, and I am very interested in learning more about their culture. I truly believe that being in a culture completely unlike my own would be an experience that I will always cherish. Hopefully, it will show me new qualities not only about the world but about myself as well. . . I've always wanted to study abroad and I would love to do something that will challenge the way I approach the world." Ashley's Application.

Ashley left for India on February 11, 2006. From her emails and calls to her family at home, she was thoroughly enjoying her adventure. One of the highlights was seeing the Taj Mahal. She wrote in an email: "i know that you've all seen pictures so i won't go into any detail but let me just tell you that i can't think of any man made structure that is so gorgeous and awe inspiring as this was. i think only a poet could do it ample credit with words. i kind of wished that i wasn't with a group b/c i would have stayed the whole day, but we had to leave in order to make it to the train station in time. all in all, definitely an experience that i wish i can have many times again..." Ashley was enjoying her study abroad experience and emailed: "i finally feel like i'm settling into the life and pace of things over here which, i must admit, fits my personality very well! it all seems so much simpler over here. i love it!"

Ashley died tragically on March 11, 2006 while at the Root Institute, a meditation retreat center in Bodhgaya, India.

She was a tender, kind soul, who was a loving older sister to her three younger sisters and a wonderful daughter.