Tsarnaeva attended North Kingstown High School, graduating in 2007. Her yearbook entry lists her plans as college and the Peace Corps. Her art teacher for four years, Amos Trout Paine, remembered her talent in painting and drawing and said she was at the top of her class.
"The reason why I remember her is she was very nice and very smart," Paine said. "She was ready to learn."
She had friends and was well integrated into class, he said, and did not seem to be interested in religion.
"There was none of that with her," he said. "She was neutral."
She went off to Suffolk University, and Paine did not see her again after that. He said he was surprised to hear she had dropped out of school and even more surprised to hear she was married to a man now accused of bombing the marathon.
"From how I know her, she's a really good person," he said.
Suffolk University said Tsarnaeva attended from 2007 to 2010 and majored in communications. Her lawyer Amato DeLuca said she was a student when she met Tamerlan Tsarnaev at a nightclub, introduced by one of her girlfriends. Tsarnaev, who had attended Bunker Hill Community College, was no longer in school, DeLuca said, and was seeing another woman at the time.
"They went out for a while, and then they stopped and then they went out again," DeLuca said.
Tsarnaeva knew nothing about Islam when they met, said her lawyer, adding he didn't know if marriage was a motivating factor in her conversion. The reason was that she is a believer, he said.
"She believes in the tenets of Islam and of the Quran," DeLuca said. "She believes in God."