Valentine’s Day: Remembering the Parkland victims


Victims of the Parkland school shooting (Giffords Courage / Twitter)

The season of love is here and Valentine’s Day is filled with candy hearts and stuffed bears. It is a day to celebrate loved ones, but for the small community of Parkland, Florida, February 14 serves as the day where the celebration of red roses turned into the blaring alarms of “code red.” 

In 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, took seventeen beautiful lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It is important not to dwell on the victims’ deaths, but celebrate their lives. 

Information from: CNN and ABC (listed below)

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14

Alyssa’s passion for soccer started at the age of three. Attending MSD as a freshman, Alyssa made varsity. She loved going to the beach and debate class. 

With the support from her mother, Lori, a law passed in 2020 mandating that public schools throughout Florida be required to have a mobile panic alarm system. The new legislation is called Alyssa’s Alert. 

Scott Beigel, 35

Beigel, escorting students to safety, died a hero. He served the school as a geography teacher and cross-country coach. 

Kelsey Friend, one of Beigel’s students, said to CNN, “Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom. I am alive today because of him.”

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14

Martin was a member of the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. He was awarded a Heroism Medal by the U.S. Army. His family remembers him as a huge football fan. His brother recalls him as a shy kid, with a funny side to him. 

Nicholas Dworet, 17

Nick accepted an athletic swimming scholarship to the University of Indianapolis. He planned to study finance. 

Nick’s parents and brother started a charity, Swim4Nick, offering college scholarships for swimmers and swim clinics. 

Aaron Feis, 37

An assistant football coach and security guard at MSD, Feis died rushing into the building to save students. He was always there for his students and put their needs before his own.

Jamie Guttenberg, 14

Jamie fell in love with dancing and stood up against bullying. She dreamed of becoming a mother. 

Jamie’s father, Fred, became an advocate for tighter gun regulations. 

Christopher Hixon, 49

Hixon served as the school’s athletic director. As a former Navy veteran, Hixon died in an attempt to stop the shooter. His wife, Debra, states he was an awesome husband, father, and American. 

Luke Hoyer, 15

Luke was the youngest of three siblings. He spent a lot of time with his mother and valued his family.

According to CNN, Luke’s cousin said, “His smile was contagious, and so was his laugh.” 

Cara Loughran, 14

Cara was an outstanding student. She had a love for Irish dance and attended Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida. 

Gina Montalto, 14

Gina was a member of MSD’s winter color guard team and she was a gifted artist. 

Tony, Gina’s father, is president of Stand With Parkland, which represents the victims’ families. 

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Nicknamed “Guac,” short for “guacamole,” Joaquin loved soccer. He moved to the United States from Venezuela when he was three. 

Alaina Petty, 14

Alaina was a member of the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. She was an active member in her Church and following Hurricane Irma, Alaina helped her community recover. She was awarded with a Junior ROTC Heroism Medal from the U.S. Army.

Meadow Pollack, 18

Wanting to be a lawyer, Meadow had plans to attend Lynn University. She died shielding a younger student with her body. 

Helena Ramsay, 17

Moving from England at the age of two, Helena was a dedicated student with a reserved personality. She died trying to protect a classmate from the open fire. 

Alex Schachter, 14

Alex joined the school’s marching band playing the trombone. 

Alex’s family set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for a scholarship. The page states, “In an effort to continue his memory, this scholarship is being created to help other students experience the joys of music as well as fund increased security at schools. Please help keep Alex’s spirit alive.”

Carmer Schentrup, 16

Carmen was a National merit Scholarship semi finalist. She planned to attend school at Washington State University with the goal of becoming a medical researcher and finding a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Peter Wang, 15

Peter, a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, died trying to usher other students to safety. He dreamed of attending West Point. Peter received a Junior ROTC Heroism Medal from the U.S. Army. 


ABC News Network. (n.d.). Parkland school shooting 4 years later: Remembering the 17 victims. ABC News. Retrieved February 13, 2023, from


Levenson, E., & Sterling, J. (2022, October 13). These are the victims of the Florida School shooting. CNN. Retrieved February 13, 2023, from