Carmen Schentrup

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S ixteen-year-old Carmen Marie Schentrup was a unique, intelligent, funny and beautiful individual. Her signature look consisting of teal-dyed hair, winged eyeliner and dark shaded lipstick reflected her boldness and individuality, as she was never afraid to stand out. She was born on Feb. 21, 2001 in Pembroke Pines, Florida to Philip and April Schentrup. She is survived by her older brother Robert and younger sister Evelyn. In the seventh grade, she moved to Parkland, Florida where she attended Westglades Middle School. “She was smart, funny, quirky, sarcastic and witty. I like her confidence in the fact that she embraced being weird and didn’t change for anyone,” Carmen’s brother and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alumnus Robert Schentrup said. In a public statement, Carmen’s parents characterized her as a mature, beautiful young lady who inspired others and left those around her with endless loving memories of her. “While many people considered Carmen mature beyond her years (she recently joked how people had been asking her how she liked college since she was a freshman), she was still a kid at heart,” her parents said. “She was silly, playful and huggable. As parents, we loved that she never outgrew our hugs and would hug us before she went to bed.” Carmen, who embraced her cynical and sarcastic side, would probably laugh at her being referred to as an “angel,” according to her friends. “As a person, she tried to act mean a lot, and she often freely admitted to doing it. However, it was pretty easy to see that it wasn’t the real her, as much as she wanted to call herself a narcissist or evil or whatever,” senior Zach Huang said. “Although I used to play along with it, I always knew she was one of the nicest people I knew, even though we both called each other some pretty bad things all the time.” Her friends describe her as witty and caring with unparalleled intelligence even though she was the youngest student in the senior class, having completed both first and second grade within one school year. As a National Merit finalist and straight-A student, Carmen was greatly admired by her classmates and teachers alike. “What teacher wouldn’t have loved to have had a student like that — a brilliant student, a fine young lady, [who] had the world by the tail and a future ahead of her,” physics teacher Robert Rosen said. Accepted to the University of Florida’s honors program, she planned to pursue a career in medical sciences. After her great-aunt suffered from ALS, Carmen made it her goal to one day find a cure to the disease. Her passion for science was exhibited in her enrollment in challenging courses such as AP Biology and AP Physics C, as well as her role on the MSD science bowl team. “She was one of the reasons I came to practice. After all, [I] had to listen to the captain; [she was] elected through an extremely competitive game of rock paper scissors,” Huang said. Carmen also developed a love for literature and art in addition to her passion for science and mathematics. She was fascinated by art museums and took up drawing as a hobby. Anyone who sat near her in class would recognize her notebooks, which were adorned with sketches of patterns and flowers in addition to her meticulous notes. She was quite the bookworm, routinely reading over 100 books a year according to her parents. She was especially interested in science fiction, fantasy and comedy books, as well as the work of William Shakespeare. “Her depth of thought noticeably inspired her classmates with fresh perspectives, launching us all into deeper, more elaborate discussions,” AP Literature and Composition teacher Michelle Daon said. “Carmen took advantage of my opendoor policy and would come before school and during lunch and personalization to meet with me to further discuss her analysis of literature. For me, it was a dull day when Carmen did not show up for a quick discussion.” As a very involved student in the extracurricular organizations at MSD, she also played a critical role in the Mu Alpha Theta calculus team, HOSA and several honor societies. In early February, she recently received a first place award from HOSA for memorizing the most anatomical terms. However, one of her greatest passions was fostered through her presidency in the Acapella Club: music. She and senior Suzanna Barna co-founded the club as sophomores to bring together lovers of music and develop their passion. Since she was 5 years old, Carmen developed a gift for playing piano, violin and guitar. She used music as a means for escape from her hefty workload. “I remember telling her she was screwed when she didn’t know her sheet music like four days before her competition, but she still got a Superior,” Huang said. She especially loved country music and always wanted to go to concerts. According to her friend, senior Amanda Hall, they spent the early weeks of February trying to convince Carmen’s father to buy her tickets to see Dierks Bentley in concert. Her love for music dates back to her middle school days. In eighth grade at Westglades Middle School, she performed as Grimsby in the school’s production of “The Little Mermaid.” While she never intended to pursue theatre in high school, she carried her love for singing and music with her. In high school, she began singing on the choir at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, embracing her religious ties. There, she was part of the youth group in which she took an active leadership role. Rev. Canon Mark Sims lightheartedly described how when Carmen came up with an idea, she would barge into his office and tell him how he could get on board. While Carmen’s maturity, intelligence and leadership reflected the personality of a professor rather than a high school student, she still found joy in the activities typical of teenage girls. She loved to shop, especially for shoes, owning a wide array of high heels and boots. According to Hall, Carmen used shopping to cheer her up, claiming that shoes “solved all of life’s issues.” “I remember standing outside of gov[ernment class] not long before homecoming, and she told me how she convinced her mom to buy her a new pair of heels because ‘none of her other 20 pairs matched with her dress,’” Hall said. She also loved coffee, never failing to show up to school with a canteen full of it every morning. Even though her friends always joked about it, Carmen was a proud Starbucks gold member. Her favorite animal was the horse. On the day that would have been her 17th birthday, her friends gathered at a local horse ranch to release balloons adorned with messages of love in honor of Carmen. “Everyone wrote on a coffee mug with heartfelt messages ‘to our favorite coffee addict’ that we plan to give to her family,” senior Carmen Lo said. One of her favorite things to do was going to the movies with her friends. Her snack of choice was always Sour Patch Kids or some kind of gummy, according to Hall. “One thing we always did together was try to predict the whole plot [of the movie] from like the first five minutes,” Huang said. “I lost count of the amount of times we predicted exactly what cliche thing the protagonist would say, or the times we called literally every twist. Honestly, I don’t remember if she ever predicted wrong.” To Carmen, the world was an exciting place filled with potential adventures. She always wanted to experience life to its fullest, being very involved in the community and accepting all opportunities that came her way. She became fascinated by Germany and was determined to travel to the country after hearing lots of stories about it from her father’s friend. She spent a year teaching herself German and planned a family trip to Germany in the summer of 2017, translating and guiding her family throughout. Carmen’s perspective on life was etched into the walls of her bedroom, which featured quotes such as “laugh every day. Live every moment. Love beyond words” and “when it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.” She had an optimistic outlook on life and looked forward to a bright future ahead of her. Carmen Schentrup, a dreamer, a daughter, a sister and a friend, will forever be in the hearts of those who knew her and those she impacted. Story by Lauren Newman; photos courtesy of April Schentrup