PARKLAND, Fla. — Mother and son had a daily ritual.
Scott Beigel, a geography teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, used to call his mom every day on his way home from work. They would check in and ask about each other’s days.
This was before last week. Beigel was one of 17 people shot and killed at the school February 14 after he sheltered terrified students who were fleeing the gunman. He ushered them into his classroom but was shot at the door before he could take cover.
The 35-year-old was also a summer camp counselor and cross country coach.
The beloved teacher was buried Sunday and honored Tuesday when more than 800 members of the Parkland community held a cross-country run in his name.
Now his grieving mother, Linda Beigel Schulman, has received an unusual offer from one of his students. Kelsey Friend, a freshman, has vowed to keep the phone-call tradition alive.
“Kelsey’s promised that she would call me on her way home from school every day the way Scott used to call me and let me know what’s going on, and we’re going to keep in touch forever,” Schulman told CNN Thursday.
“Mr. Beigel is and forever will be my hero,” Friend told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota as she and Schulman appeared together on CNN’s “New Day.” “He one-hundred percent saved my life. If it wasn’t for him, I might not be here right now…”
Friend told CNN that she was among the last people to see Beigel alive. She and her classmates in geography class rushed back to their classroom once they heard the shots. She said Beigel unlocked the door for them and ushered them to safety.
“He’s amazing, I miss him like crazy,” said Friend. “Every moment that goes by, either I’m thinking about his silly jokes or the way he laughed or his smile or just the way he taught me. As a student, I don’t really say I love my teachers as much, but Mr. Beigel, I will stand here proudly and say I love my teacher.”
As the pair locked arms, Schulman told Camerota she is not surprised at the impact her son had on his students.
“It’s my son. It’s amazing. It doesn’t surprise me. That’s the way Scott was. He loved teaching. He loved teaching. He loved getting through (to kids),” she said. “I just hope wherever he is — and I wish I knew — but wherever he is, I hope he understands that he did get through. He really got through.”