Teen travels across the world even after death

Picture of four people on a stage standing at a podium.

By Kori Kay Obert

The life of 15-year-old Grace Catherine Joyce Schell was remembered at Liberty High School’s track and field on Monday October 12. More than a thousand family members and friends of Schell gathered to celebrate the life she lived.

To begin the memorial, items that were important to Schell were placed on a table near the stage. Family members spoke as the mementoes such as her cheerleading uniform, track shoes, confirmation gown, and many other important items were presented. Schell’s immediate and extended family then processed in to the song, “Amazing Grace.”

 The day was grey, cold, and windy, but as the song began to play, the sun came out and shone brightly. The wind died down and warmth swept across the crowd. Many tears were shed during this extraordinary moment.

“It was truly a sign of Grace being with us in that moment,” said Kelly Obert, cousin of Schell.

The memorial was full of prayers and words from the pastors of Saint James Lutheran Church, of which Schell had been a member. As Pastor Mike Fieberkorn quoted scripture and commented on Schell’s devotion to faith, a single hawk soared above him in the sky.

“At that moment I felt like Grace was there watching over us,” said Dana Cramer, cousin of Schell.

The next person to speak at the memorial was Reverend Marlin Rempfer. Reverend Rempfer delivered the eulogy on Schell’s life. He spoke about Schell’s performance as a cross country runner. He had explained how after Schell’s last race, she was disappointed with herself because she “still had gas left in the tank.”

Reverend Rempfer used the analogy of life being a race.

“Grace ran her race of life and has now made it to the finish line of heaven,” Rempfer said.

After closing prayers were said, Schell’s mother and sister shared stories and special moments from their lives together.

Grace Schell’s younger sister, Emma Schell, shared a light-hearted memory of laughing with her sister over a “blonde moment” Grace Schell once had. Emma Schell said that will be a memory her family will laugh about forever.

Holly Schell, mother of Grace Schell, told the crowd that she did not want people to remain sad over her daughter’s death. She wanted people to know that her daughter will continue to be in their lives even though she is no longer with them.

“She will continue to shine down grace, and hope, and joy on each of us,” Holly Schell said.

To close the memorial, the crowd released red balloons with Grace Schell’s favorite Bible verse, Exodus 14:14, attached to them. As the balloons floated away, family members and friends walked a lap around the track in her honor.

The memory of Grace Schell did not stop at her memorial. Since then, the hashtag “Be Like Grace” has spread across the world. The message to “Be Like Grace” means to be the best version of yourself, put others first, love God, and be faithful.

 “She has been coast to coast now and in three different countries,” said Holly Schell. “Keep going Gracie girl, people hear you and the message you are spreading.”

The Schell Family speaks at a memorial service for their daughter.

From left: Dustin Schell, Emma Schell, Holly Schell and Elijah Schell

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