Vigil pays tribute to pharmacy student

Samar Elsheik's brother pays his tribute during Friday night's vigil.
Photo Courtesy of WCTV.TV

At a young age, Samar Elsheikh was always helpful and did everything with a smile that instantly brightened a room. Her humbleness and her gift for always treating others equally led her to yearn for a career in pharmaceutical science. 

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, and raised in Gainesville, Samar set her mind on everything she wanted to accomplish. She came to Florida A&M University with the goal of becoming an extraordinary pharmacist.

She was the epitome of a Rattler student, from undergraduate to fourth-year pharmacy program Samar spent days iand nights in the library studying, helping her peers and making an impact on those she came across.

“Samar was a girl that always knew what she wanted, and I love that about her,” said Mr. Elsheikh, father to Samar Elsheikh.

Aside from the rigorous course work, Elsheikh involved herself in many student organizations such as FAMU COPPS Student Council Association, Muslim Student Association, Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society, APhA-ASP American Pharmacist Association, Florida Pharmacy Association, and Student National Pharmaceutical Association.

Elsheikh indeed had a hectic schedule with her internship rotation at Hitchcock’s Markets and residency preparation. However, she managed to offer her assistance whenever needed throughout all her organization. Not only that, but she even extended a hand to professors as a proctor in their classes.

“We would always look tired and stressed when Samar visited our class she always held a positive spirit and a bright smile, reassuring us that everything is going to be okay,” said Joshua Akins, a pre-pharmacy student.

In late February, the 23-year old senior pharmacy candidate, just three months away from graduation, was in a fatal two-vehicle crash in Gilchrist County on the way to her internship in Newberry.

On Friday, Florida A&M University held a candlelight vigil as family, friends, members of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences gathered in remembrance of Samar Elsheikh. The memorial took place in the Student Union.

Shy yet personable, willing to help, smart, radiant and meticulous were all words used to describe this young lady.  

The vigil was presided by Taylar Hall, a senator with FAMU student government. The ceremony opened with a prayer by a pharmacy student, followed by a musical selection of “Let it Be” by the Beatles performed by the vocal performance students.

The family members, faculty and classmates were each given a chance to share their words of comfort while highlighting Elsheikh’s life as well as her impact on their lives.

Angela Thornton, a mentor to Samar for the past six weeks, said she was heartbroken about the tragedy.

“She was my best student, never complained about anything, and always asking what she can do,” said Thornton. “One day she could tell I wasn’t myself and asked if I was OK  and if there’s anything she can do.”

Following that, the lighting of the candles was presented with a moment of silence, then a reading of President Larry Robinson’s condolences to the family by William Hudson Jr., vice president of the Office of Student Affairs.

Newly elected SGA president Rochard Moricatte closed the ceremony with a few touching words.

“Thank you for giving her to us and allowing her to make an impact on our university. Although she is gone, she will never be forgotten, and us Rattlers always stick together.”