Broward County

Friends remember Carmen, scholarship finalist who died in the Parkland shooting

Carmen Schentrup
Carmen Schentrup

She never took her scars seriously.

Carmen Schentrup, 16, one of the victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had four large marks running the length of her leg from a major surgery at age 12.

The procedure left her with metal rods jutting from her leg for several months, but Carmen never tried to hide them or the scars they left. Instead, she cracked jokes.

If someone asked what had happened, Carmen would reel off one-liners. Her family’s favorite joke, they wrote in a statement released Sunday, was that she’d acquired the scars from “running with the bulls.”

Sharp, huggable and quick with comebacks, Carmen loved to make people laugh, friends and family said in social media posts.

In her eighth grade production of The Little Mermaid, for example, Carmen took on one of the few named roles –– Grimsby, the affable, pony-tailed manservant of Prince Eric. Grim, as Eric calls him, is goofy, genial, endearingly British, and devoted to his prince. Carmen brought the role to life.

The play’s director, Samantha Grady, recalled that, even though Schentrup had no intention of taking up theater in high school, she grew with the part, lighting up the character’s dorky, cartoonish humor.

Carmen was a bright, self-motivated, straight-A student, her friends and family said. She “devoured” books. She delighted parents with her piano. After deciding to learn German, Carmen taught herself the language.

“Last summer, she planned our family vacation to Germany and played the role of translator and guide,” her family wrote.

Carmen Schentrup was also a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, one of only 10 students at Stoneman Douglas to receive the honor. But the young high schooler will never know about her accomplishment. The letter came the day after she was killed.

Angelyse Perez, a Stoneman Douglas senior, was best friends with Carmen early in high school, before Perez got involved with JROTC and the two girls drifted apart.

Carmen loved Marvel movies — and Shakespeare.

"We always used to tell her she was going to get into Harvard or something," said Perez, 18.

Carmen’s medical history, part of her past, had also been part of her future plans. Her parents’ statement described their daughter’s desire to become a scientist.

“She wanted to become a medical scientist and discover a cure for horrible diseases, like ALS,” they wrote. “She was going to change the world.”

Related stories from Miami Herald