If Scott Beigel were alive, he would have been at Saturday night’s Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, his mother Linda Beigel Schulman said.
Instead, Beigel — one of 17 people killed in the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida — was there in spirit when he was honored before thousands of fans.
The Long Island native’s name is one of three to grace a $10,000 scholarship — the Orange Bowl Beigel-Feis-Hixon Valor Award — that was presented at the game to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High student Travis Julmice.
Two others were also memorialized for their bravery through the scholarship: Aaron Feis, who coached football at the school and Chris Hixon, who coached wrestling and was the athletic director.
Beigel, 35, coached cross country and taught geography at the school before his life was taken during the Feb. 14 mass shooting. Feis and Hixon were also killed.
“Scott loved college sports, he followed college sports like you can’t believe,” Beigel Schulman said. “If Scott were here today, he would be there watching the game. I feel like I’m really there in Scott’s place.”
Beigel Schulman spoke by phone Saturday hours before she and her husband, Michael Schulman, attended the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Oklahoma Sooners.
Reached later that night as the game was still going on, Beigel Schulman said she and her husband stood on the field in the second quarter as Julmice was named the recipient of the scholarship.
"It was really fabulous," Biegel Schulman said. "It was a great honor to be able to give out a scholarship in Scott's name."
The couple is from Dix Hills. Michael Schulman added the scholarship “will keep Scott’s legacy and memory alive.”
The scholarship is sponsored by the Orange Bowl Committee. Julmice, 18, played basketball, football and ran track at the high school. He will be attending Florida Gulf Coast University in the summer, officials said.
Julmice lost a friend, Joaquin Oliver, in the shooting, officials said.
“The Orange Bowl Committee is proud to perpetually honor the memory of these courageous and heroic individuals with the creation of this award,” Orange Bowl Committee president and chairman Sean Pittman said in a statement. “Each year, the student-athlete that is recognized with this award will reflect the strength and mettle that these outstanding leaders displayed on that fateful afternoon.”
Beigel Schulman said her family is trying to turn their tragedy into positive outcomes, whether it be supporting scholarships on behalf of their son or fighting for gun reform.
“We just want to make sure going forward, no other families have to go through the tragedies we’ve been through. We decided we are not going to mourn Scott’s death, we are going to celebrate his life,” she said.
But pain from her son’s death never goes away, she said.
“I would much rather prefer to have my son, and be sitting next to my son, and hugging my son,” Beigel Schulman said. “I wish I could have my son next to me and give an award to some deserving person — that would be the best of both worlds.”