FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Tearful family and friends gathered Tuesday to say their final goodbyes to three loved ones killed in last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Funeral services for 16-year-old Carmen Schentrup were held in Coral Springs and a memorial Mass and service were held for 14-year-old Gina Montalto in Parkland.
Schentrup’s family said she would have turned 17 on the day of her service.
She was remembered as an artistic girl who loved music, a good story and devoured books.
She was accepted as a National Merit Scholar semi-finalist, an honor her family says she never got the chance to know because her award letter arrived the day after she died.
Her family posted this message on Facebook.
“To our dear Carmen, you are a bright, beautiful, young woman bursting into the world. You are an amazing daughter, sister, friend. You fill our lives with loving memories that we will always cherish. You are a gift from God and into His arms you return.”
Montalto, a freshman who served on the school’s winter guard, also volunteered with special needs kids and was on the color guard squad.
Remembered as a loving daughter and sister, Montalto was a friend to everyone she met.
Her father, a pilot and captain for United Airlines gave the eulogy, reading a letter he wrote for her Catholic confirmation.
Anthony Montalto said his daughter loved books so much she dreamed of living in a library.
“It hits close to home. I didn’t realize how close until I was notified by my union,” said pilot Jeff Bretzer who was one of dozens of pilots to attend the service. “It’s heart wrenching.”
“The service was very emotional, the father did such a great job being super strong, talking great things about his daughter during the service. The community was very together just like how Parkland is, very united, very strong,” said AJ Henry, a family friend.
Also on Tuesday, there was a memorial service for 15-year-old Peter Wang.
Aaron Chen, Wang’s cousin, said on the day of the shooting his cousin, wearing his gray Junior ROTC uniform, held the door open so other people could escape.
He is being hailed a hero.
Fellow cadets and hundreds of mourners honored Wang at his service.
He was buried in his Junior ROTC uniform and West Point Military Academy announced he would be accepted posthumously into in the Class of 2025.
In addition, the U.S. Army announced Wang and fellow Stoneman Douglas victims and cadets Alaina Petty and Martin Duque are all being awarded the medal for heroism.
At a memorial in Parkland, fellow classmates left flowers, lit candles and wrote messages that said a hero will forever be remembered.
Outside the funeral home, fellow cadets from Deerfield Beach, Hollywood Military Academy, and Stoneman Douglas stood at attention as hundreds of mourners made their way inside to pay the respects. Each person was given a memorial program with beautiful words that read, “He is a hero having sacrificed his life to protect his friends and classmates. He loved being in the JROTC and planned on attending the United States military academy West Point. He liked the Houston Rockets, hip-hop music, playing basketball and spending time with his friends.”
Also Tuesday, there were viewings for athletic director Chris Hixon, and assistant football coach Aaron Feis.
Hixon, who was also the school’s wrestling coach, was an Iraq War veteran.
Many have used the word hero to describe Feis. He was killed when he threw himself in front of students to protect them from oncoming bullets. He suffered a gunshot wound and later died after he was rushed into surgery.
Tuesday evening, Parkland hosted a “Run 4 Biegel” at Pines Trail Park. The run honors Scott Biegel, the school’s cross country coach and geography teacher who unlocked his classroom to allow panicked students to take shelter inside during the shooting. He was struck and killed by a bullet while closing the door behind them.
On Monday, funeral services were held for 15-year-old Luke Hoyer and 14-year-old Alaina Petty.
Monday night, more than two dozen vigils were held across the state. Local vigils were held in Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, and Sunrise.
Young people were fired up, wanting change in the state and nation’s gun laws, and they, with the optimism of youth, are sure they can get things done.
“Because we are the future,” said Sergio Palacio. “Even if we don’t make it in this generation, the next one will someone will.”
Following Schentrup’s services, 100 Stoneman Douglas High students boarded buses bound for Tallahassee.
On Wednesday the students will meet with Senators and House members on both sides of the aisle, as well as Attorney General Pam Bondi and hold a press conference to share their experiences and messages.