In the weeks following the deadliest high school shooting in United States history, editors and reporters for Lifestyle reached out to dozens of people whose lives were forever altered by what happened inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. We interviewed the officer who made the arrest and the sheriff who’s under fire. We spoke to student activists and students from a high school in west Boca Raton who walked 12 miles in a show of solidarity. We met survivors of a mass shooting in Orlando and survivors from the third floor at MSD. We attended an emotional town hall with members of the Parkland community. And we listened as grieving parents and heartbroken friends and family told us about their loved ones.
We’re deeply honored to share their words with our readers.
Heather Schoengrund’s son, Brandon, and Meadow Pollack were inseparable from the first time they met three years ago. They were introduced by a mutual friend, his mother says. “I knew God blessed me with an angel that I would love for the rest of my life,” Brandon said at his girlfriend’s funeral.
Heather had formed her own friendship with the girl that close friends called “Meads,” and who her father, Andrew, called his “princess.”
Heather posted a letter to “Meads” on Facebook three days after the MSD shooting in which, among other things, she wrote: “I couldn’t have asked for a better girlfriend for Brandon.”
Christina Harris remembers Meadow as a bright star who loved to dance. In 2004, Harris, now owner of Coral Springs Academy of Dance, was a teacher at the school; Meadow was in her tap, ballet, and jazz classes. “She was one of the little ones I taught. I remember that I thought her name was so beautiful—and I remember her smile,” Harris says.
After graduation, Meadow had planned to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton.
“She was very much about family, and she didn’t want to go far away to college,” Heather says. “She wanted to stay close to home, and to stay close to Brandon. She was going to marry him. That’s who she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.”
Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, has become an outspoken advocate for school safety and what can be done to prevent future shootings. Brandon, 21, joined Andrew, and Meadow’s brothers, Huck and Hunter, when they traveled to Washington, D.C., for a roundtable discussion about school safety with President Donald Trump.
Heather recently posted a picture on Facebook of a new tattoo, freshly inked on the inside of her left ankle—an “M” with a princess crown atop it. “Two of Meadow’s best friends started it, then my aunt, my cousin and I got one, and now some of her family members have gone to get them, too. It’s on the left side where our hearts are.”
—Michelle F. Solomon