7 minute read

Meadow Pollack

 Meadow Jade Pollack, affectionately called “Meadie” and “Shmead” by friends and family, was an 18-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She was planning to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton in the fall. She was the daughter of Shara Kaplan and Andrew Pollack and was the younger sister of Huck and Hunter Pollack. The youngest of 10 cousins,  Meadow was fiercely protected and loved  by all of them.

“Meadow was the best, and I’m sure you’ve heard it from everyone,” Meadow’s cousin Adam Pollack said. “She lit up every room and was there for you whenever you needed her. I could call her at any time, and she'd help me with whatever I needed."

Meadow’s personality shines through to be there for others, how to care for others, things the parking spot that she painted in the senior lot which is bright pink with “Princess Meadow” written in white around a white crown. The two ‘s’s in "princess" are replaced with dollar signs, a trendy addition and one reflective of her personality. Her friends remember her as a kind, bubbly girl with an inexhaustible amount of energy. 

“She was always the happiest person in the room,” senior Carley Ogozaly said. “If someone was upset, she would always go out of her way to make sure they were okay and always managed to put a smile on their face, no matter what they were dealing with.”

Even as a child, Meadow’s propensity for making friends shined through. Her childhood friend, senior Megan Faberman, recalls some of her experiences with Meadow and considers Meadow one of her first real friends, and the one to really teach her about friendship.

“She was always very imaginative and creative. She taught me the good things in friendship: how to be there for others, how to care for others, things like that,” Faberman said. “When we were little, we always loved to be outside, going in the pool almost everyday, and Meadow’s mother finally let her have a trampoline, and it was the best day of our lives. Her spirit was so vibrant and kind.”

Meadow had a unique way of creating friendships and getting along with her peers. The solutions were out-of-the-box, but even as a kid, she found a way to make even the most challenging situation work.

“I remember one time I didn’t like her other best friend and she didn’t like me so she invited us both over and locked us in a room until we were friends,” Faberman said. “That’s basically the kind of person she was; she brought everyone together and generally just spread so much love to those around her. Although in high school we weren’t as close as we were as kids, I definitely brought with me the aspects of friendship she taught me. She was an obviously gorgeous person, but the type of person she was on the inside, there’s not a word to describe that."

Music played a big role in Meadow’s life and her interests, and her love of rap music was well known by her friends. One of her favorite artists was Kodak Black, whose new albums always excited her,  along with popular rapper Cardi B. 

“[Meadow] sang her song ‘Bodak Yellow’ just about everyday,” senior Nikki Rose said in a Tweet. “Every time I hear the song I think of my BFF’s beautiful smile.”

Meadow’s favorite shows were “Dexter” and “Shameless,” demonstrating her love for the provocative and dramatic. She could talk about her favorite shows all day; whenever she visited her boyfriend, Brandon Schoengrund, in his workplace, she would watch her favorite programs in his company. Meadow also shared her affection for her two cats, Lola and Fiona.

Meadow’s dreams changed from day to day. Most of the time, however, she wanted to be a lawyer. Meadow’s friend, Amanda Perez, a junior at Palm Beach State College, recounts Meadow’s unique drive and motivation.

“She loved going to the gym,” Perez said. “She would watch videos on her phone in her free time on how to work certain machines and work out her body the proper way. She taught herself everything. She did anything that she put her mind to and didn’t let anyone get in her way.”

She taught me the good things in friendship, how whatever I needed.”

Meadow was someone who loved to go to the beach and found herself there often, contemplating life, her future and her friends. She wanted to tour the whole world with Ogozaly and took as many trips as she could, including a stay in New York. She was independent and loved to exercise in the gym to relieve her stress and improve her physique. 

“Meadow and I started working out in middle school and until the day everything happened, she’s been my workout buddy,” Ogozaly said. “Meadow loved being at the gym because it made her feel so good about herself and took all her stress away.”

Meadow was outgoing and fun, teaching her favorite slang words to her parents and making the most out of every situation. Meadow’s role model in life was her mother, Shara Kaplan. She wanted more than anything to be just like her, a successful mother. She admired everything about her, and the two had a very close relationship.

Meadow’s ability to draw everyone in her life to her so closely, almost like family, is something many found admirable. Heather Schoengrund, her long-term boyfriend Brandon Schoengrund’s mother, recalls their close relationship and how she felt that Meadow was almost like her daughter.

“Where do I begin? The bond we had between each other is something that I will forever cherish,” Schoengrund said in a public Facebook post addressed to Meadow. “I am so fortunate for every single minute that I got to spend with you. I sit here and think about how you kept me on my toes, made my groceries lists, did laundry. I would come home and the dishwasher would be emptied. Although it was cut way too short, the time we had with you as part of our lives is something we will have in our hearts forever." 

Perez recalls some of her first conversations with meadow being exceptionally unique and memorable because of the sheer boldness that she could see in Meadow even in the first moments of knowing her.

“I met Meadow through her boyfriend, Brandon. When I tell you that we clicked from the second we met, I knew she was gonna be my best friend,” Perez said. “I’ll actually never forget, one of the first things she said to me was that I had such white teeth.”

Meadow’s friends and family have been vocal in their efforts to make change and to honor her memory. They have started an initiative called “Meadow’s Movement,” an organization that rallies Meadow’s friends, family and community to make schools safer. 

The organization was started by her father, Andrew Pollack. In addition to activism, he also wants to build a playground in Meadow’s honor. 

“This will not be any ordinary playground; this will be built for a princess,” Andrew Pollack said. “Instead of visiting my princess at a graveyard, I will sit on a bench in her playground and watch other beautiful children play.”

Meadow’s attitude toward life is as clear as the light in her eyes and is written all over her social media: “Life is what you make it,” teaching everyone who knew her about embracing the present by embodying that statement. 

“Life’s all about who you get to spend it with and the vibe you choose to bring to the table, ask yourself... what is the intention you want to bring into this world?” she said in a December 2017 Tweet. 

Meadow knew what her intentions were. She was a girl who looked forward to moving on in life beyond high school, to take her dreams to the next level and to create a life that she would be proud to share with her close friends and her warm, tight-knit family. 

Meadow’s life will forever be remembered with warmth, and she will live on forever as everyone’s “princess.”

Story by Nikhita Nookala; photos courtesy Andrew Pollack and Carley Ogazaly