BY KYLE NELSON
Valentine’s Day, more specifically February 14, 2018, is a day that Broward County will never forget. Last week, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost a large chunk of their coaching staff and student body – and an ever bigger chunk of its heart. Among the 17 victims was cross country coach Scott Beigel, who had been killed shielding and protecting students from gunfire.
“I’m walking for the students and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas who lost their lives,” Pioneer Middle School student Natalie Thompson said. “It [the walk] makes me feel like I’m making a difference.”
Alyssa Fletcher, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, is just one of the organizers of the Run 4 Beigel event in Parkland, Florida. Upon hearing of the event, cross country teams from all around Broward created a countywide run after school on February 20 to honor Beigel’s life as a person, coach and educator.
The Pioneer Middle cross country team participated in the run and opened it up to any students or parents who decided to join. Participants walked, jogged or ran from Pioneer’s front gates along 90th avenue to Griffin Road and back.
Coach Beigel was a University of Miami graduate who found his footing as the head cross country and assistant football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas after working at Camp Starlight, where he met his fiance Gwen Gossler.
“I’m here to support Mr Beigel,” Cooper City parent Carrie Sikes said. “I am also a teacher and I’m here to make a stand and demand change.”
Students, parents and teachers could be seen holding signs with Beigel’s name and MSD’s emblem.
“I’m here to support Mr Beigel. I am also a teacher and I’m here to make a stand and demand change.”
Scott Beigel’s mother Linda was interviewed on CNN and stated she was not shocked that her son showed such bravery.
“That was Scott Beigel,” Linda Biegel-Schulman said. “That was my son, that was the right thing to do, that’s something he would do. Those were his life rules; you take care of the people around you. It just doesn’t surprise me that he would be thinking of taking care of his students because he was a teacher and that’s what he did. He made sure his students were safe; made sure his students understood what he taught. If they didn’t understand what he taught, he’d find a different way to teach them.”
For Pioneer students, participating in the run was a way for them to show support towards MSD and Coach Beigel.
“I’m doing this walk to honor those who passed away and this means a lot to me,” Pioneer Middle student Ian Dasho said. “I’m happy that I can be here and show as much support to the families as I can.”
Photo by Kyle Nelson