Jericho Student Grieves Parkland Victim


Most people would say that a lot can change in your life in 7 years–new friends, a new job, a new school. However camp was something that remained the same for me. Every summer I would get off the bus for my first day of camp and see all of the familiar faces that make me feel at home; they are people who know me more than my own family at times. These people have watched me grow up, some growing with me, others helping me through the process, but there for it all. Through the laughs, cries, good and bad memories, my camp family was always there. On the last day of camp, with tears streaming down my face and devastated about leaving my true happy place, deep down I still had a warm feeling of comfort knowing I would be coming back to the same place with my same family the next summer. Never in my years at camp would I ever think a member of that family, especially someone as special as my counselor Scott Beigel, would be so tragically taken away from me. Never would I have thought on my final day of camp last summer that I would never be able to see him again.

Sing team banners hang all over Camp Starlight’s rec hall. Scott Beigel was the sing leader for the Blue Hawaii team.

Scott Beigel, 35 years old, was taken away from us by the violent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th. Scott has been called a hero for his selfless actions on this day, but Scott was a hero every day of his life. I have been able to see countless staff members come and go throughout the Camp Starlight community, but Scott was special. Scott was more than a camp counselor; he was a friend, a mentor, and a role model. He made Starlight a second home, a place for us to feel safe being whoever we wanted to be. Known for his dry sense of humor and quick witty remarks, Scott was truly able to fill any room with smiles and laughter. He taught us to be compassionate, loyal, and all-around genuine people. He showed us how everything in life is only as fun as we make it, and lastly he proved just how easy it is for one person to make a difference.

Scott placed a lasting mark on every one of his campers and fellow staff members. Because I knew Scott, I am a better person. Although Scott won’t be at camp this summer in his usual way, his memory will guide us through each and every day. He was never just another member of the Starlight family. Rather he was someone who truly embodied what camp is all about–spirit, tradition, adventure, family, fun, and friendship.

Scott was our division leader this past summer, and we are all so grateful.

Ask any person who has attended a sleepaway camp and they will tell you that camp friends are a unique type of friend you wouldn’t be able to make anywhere else. I see my camp friends a handful of times throughout the school year and of course spend 7 weeks with them over the summer, but it never feels like enough. Through grieving Scott I have learned how important it is to take advantage of the times you get to spend with the special people in your life. Every moment spent with people you love should be cherished because you truly never know what moment will be your last time together.

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5 Comments on this post.
  • David Mitchell (@DavidMitchellRI)
    28 April 2018 at 11:26 am -

    Katie, what a great tribute to Scott. During the winter doldrums, just thinking about camp, can put a smile to your face. Well it may be 100 years from now, but as a person of faith, know that you will again sing with Scott again. I didn’t have the honor of knowing Scott, but my guess would be that he would want you to sing a little bit louder and have more joy than ever !

  • Adam
    27 April 2018 at 11:45 pm -

    Katie. Wonderful article about a wonderful man. I am so sorry you had to live through this but I feel that you have truly honored him and what he meant to so many kids

  • Helena Chappell
    27 April 2018 at 4:21 pm -

    Katie, you have proved to me again why you are such a remarkable young woman. Your words have helped me as I’m sure they have helped others.
    Your tribute to Scott has made me cry, smile and reminisce all in a short time.

    Thank you, stay strong. X

  • Natalie Drebsky/Mrs. Dee
    27 April 2018 at 1:10 pm -

    It is a very heartwarming and heartfelt tribute to a man who touched many lives in so very many ways. He should rest in eternal peace knowing that he has taught children well and made lasting impressions on them. I am very sorry for your loss and may you find comfort in happy memories of this great man.

  • Ms. Gulitti
    27 April 2018 at 10:22 am -

    What a beautiful tribute to your beloved counselor, Katie. I am sorry for your great loss.


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