It was a fitting role - almost typecasting - for Rachel Cody.
The Holmen High School senior learned Monday she'd landed the zany, artsy lead in the fall play "Conversation Therapy," said Kam-Lin Roswall, language arts teacher, theater director and forensics coach.
"That was Rachel in her own life," Roswall said.
"Rachel was that burst of energy that walks into the room with a kind word, a smile or a quirky statement for anyone that crossed her path," she said.
Cody, 17, died in a fall from Grandad Bluff about 6 p.m. Wednesday. Her boyfriend told police he lost sight of her after she ventured onto a path outside the fenced area atop the bluff.
While toxicology results are pending, alcohol is not expected to be found in her system, according to the La Crosse County Medical Examiner's office.
Forensics and theater were Cody's "home, her niche" at Holmen, Roswall said. She became active in theater as a sophomore and has appeared in the last five productions.
"I think it gave her the ability to just explore the world," Roswall said. "As each character she became, she learned a lot about herself and a little about humanity - the good and the bad."
The "Conversation Therapy" cast will meet soon about the Oct. 23 production's future. It also was to be their one-act piece for state high school theater and forensics competitions.
Off stage, Cody was an "excellent" student, with a high grade-point average and class rank, Principal Bob Lecheler said.
"She was recognized by many as a very bubbly, positive, outgoing young lady," Lecheler said.
Her uncle, Joe Cody, described Rachel - daughter of Jerry Cody and Frankie Cody, and sister to Kennedy Cody - as "a go-getter" with great energy.
"She had just a vibrant personality," Joe Cody said. "She just lit up a room by walking in."
Austyn Cody, 15, turned to his cousin for advice on more than one occasion.
"Rachel was a good listener. I came to her with a lot of things," he said. "She had so much going for her."
Classmates who gathered Thursday on Grandad Bluff to remember their friend called her sweet, kind, cheerful, easy to talk to and polite.
Flowers and disposable coffee cups lined the fence at the observation area that overlooks La Crosse. It was a fitting memorial, as Rachel Cody was known for her coffee drinking, as well as fashion sense and high heels, said friends Stephanie Phelps and Lisa Larsen, both 17.
"She was 100-percent true. She was herself," Larsen said.
"Rachel was never frowning - unless she was extra tired or going through caffeine withdrawal," Phelps said.
School staff notified students Thursday morning of the death. Holmen and Onalaska counselors were available if needed.
Several teens walked that morning to the Blue Cup Coffee Shop as an impromptu tribute to their friend.
They all had an espresso in her honor, as Rachel Cody had a cup of coffee in her hand "24/7," Roswall said, adding that "some faces were hysterical" trying to down the potent brew.
"She touched all of us," Roswall said, "and left all of us with this brilliant memory of what we can be and what we can do."