There were tears and there were laughs as about 200 students, teachers and community members came together to remember Chris Schroeder in a memorial service at South High School on June 18.
The tears came from the sadness over Schroeder’s death, after he lost his two-year battle with leukemia on June 4. The laughs came from the memories shared of Schroeder, who was known for his colorful personality, sense of humor and ever-present smile.
Programs for the memorial service were printed up on purple paper for Schroeder’s favorite color. A montage created by students from the Falcon Report featured photos and videos of Schroeder and the fundraisers and tributes in his honor over the past two years.
Principal Maureen Henry said Schroeder came to South as a seventh-grader who could sometimes get into a little bit of trouble, but blossomed into a determined student who brightened the halls of the school. “As a principal, Chris made me proud,” she said. “He was truly one of South’s success stories.”
Schroeder missed most of the past two years as he underwent treatment, but he was never forgotten by his classmates or teachers.
Henry said that Schroeder wasn’t just a student at the school, he was a teacher as well. He taught everyone life lessons — how to be brave, strong, determined, positive and happy. “Adversity did not beat him down, ever,” Henry said. “He stood up and fought.”
Michele Marcus, who coached Schroeder on the varsity bowling team for four years, spoke of his talent and ability to help others improve their own game. Orchestra teacher Elizabeth Pichichero talked about how happy Schroeder was to be in school and around his classmates.
Two student organizations, the Cultural Society and Occupational Education Honor Society, presented checks to Schroeder’s parents, Wally and Carole.
Student Max Maurice, who knew Schroeder for a decade, recalled how they played soccer together as children. He also remembered Schroeder’s big bear hugs which could often leave him breathless.
Jacqui Allocca, a bowling teammate of Schroeder’s noted how he always ordered Penne a la vodka as both an appetizer and a main course at the varsity bowling dinner.
As a tribute to Schroeder, every person in attendance was asked to write a message to him on a paper bowling pin — in purple ink. The pins were then taped to a paper bowling alley which will hang at South as a tribute to beloved former student.