The family of a Parkland, Florida, school shooting victim who dreamed of attending the University of Connecticut has created a scholarship in his memory.
Max Schachter and his wife, Caryn DeSacia, started the scholarship in honor of 14-year-old shooting victim Alex Schachter, according to the Hartford Courant.
“Alex Schachter, who often wore a UConn sweatshirt, had his heart set on attending the university and playing the trombone in its marching band,” the Courant said.
The scholarship, known as the Alex Schachter and Family Memorial Scholarship, will be awarded annually to one student who shares Alex’s dream of playing in UConn’s marching band, according to a statement by Schachter and DeSacia.
“After this horrible tragedy, we just wanted to try to have something good come of this,” Schachter said. “We’re hoping that it will keep Alex’s memory alive for years and years to come.”
Grace Merritt, UConn Foundation marketing and communications writer, said the Foundation worked with the family to create the scholarship.
“Alex’s uncle, Paul Goldberg, came up with the idea and approached the University in April about establishing a scholarship,” Merritt said. “The UConn Foundation worked closely with the family to set it up.”
Merritt said the family is hoping to raise $50,000 to endow the scholarship so it can be awarded every year. The family will begin awarding the scholarship when that goal is met, Merritt said.
UConn Foundation president and CEO Josh Newton said the foundation is honored to help Alex’s family find a way to turn his loss into something positive.
“This scholarship celebrates Alex’s life and will support generations of future UConn students who share his passion for the marching band,” Newton said.
After learning of Schachter’s passing and love of UConn, the university sent his family a posthumous letter of admission to the school’s music department.
“Given the overwhelming accounts of his unwavering character and musical talent, it is our honor to extend Alex the enclosed offer of admission,” Director of Admissions Nathan Fuerst wrote in a letter to the family.
Paul Schachter told the Courant his family was moved by the gesture.
“It just meant so much to us,” Schachter said. “It definitely put a bright spot in our hearts amongst all the sadness.”
The UConn Marching Band was deeply affected by Alex’s passing, said UConn Director of Bands David Mills.
“Alex was one of us, a real person, a trombone player, and someone lost from our band,” Mills said in a statement. “After expressing our feelings about Alex through halted speech and tears, we immediately designated Alex as a full member of UConn’s marching and pep bands.”
The band wore pins with Schachter’s name at all of their performances, according to UConn Today. They hung a picture of him in their practice room and the trombone section left an empty seat for him during their rehearsals.
Patti Goldberg, Schachter’s aunt, told the UConn Foundation that she greatly appreciated the gestures.
“When I heard about what the UConn band did, I cried, I really did,” Goldberg said. “For UConn to just do this on their own was overwhelming for us.”
Paul Goldberg, Schachter’s uncle, told the UConn Foundation he hopes the scholarship will keep Schachter’s memory alive.
“We’re hoping the impact of the scholarship is that Alex is not forgotten, what happened is never forgotten and his legacy is lived on through other students,” Goldberg said.
Donations to the Alex Schachter and Family Memorial Scholarship can be made by visiting the scholarship’s website or by calling (860) 486-5000.
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.