Berenice Felipe and Tia Salika Memorial

Rina Rossi & Carina Raffaelli

“Charitable. Generous. Kind. Compassionate. Passionate. Full of joy and mirth.

Energetic, often to the point of hyper. Opinionated. Mama Bear. Sincere. Authentic.

Educator.” These were words spoken by Andrea Roth, and Itzel Gonzalez Camacho, and used to describe Berenice Felipe, at their memorial held at PCS on Friday, September 20. 

On September 20th, 2019, members of the PCS and Santa Cruz community gathered at Holy Cross Church for Berenice’s mass, celebrating the life and legacy of Berenice Felipe.  A beautiful ceremony took place, inclusive of all parts of Berenice’s identity. Passages and gentle hymns were translated in both English and Spanish. Staff, families, teachers, and students from all walks of life came to express their love for Berenice. Their life touched so many others, and was appreciated by all. 

After the remembrance mass, a reception was held in the PCS student center for Berenice. Friends and family gathered; tables representing traditional Hispanic food of Berenice’s culture stood next to the community’s kind gifts of baked goods and drinks. Itzel Gonzalez Camacho, a senior and close friend of Berenice Felipe, and PCS English teacher Andrea Roth, delivered a warmhearted speech. The English-Spanish memoriam described the legacy of Berenice, and the abundantly positive impact they brought to their friends, family, and community. Many were in tears as Ms. Roth detailed Berenice’s brilliance, generosity, and adamant love. Then, in a touching display of PCS’ close-knit community, friends and family were given the opportunity to share their personal condolences. Senior Katie Sarna presented a poem, friends illustrated Digby’s welcoming inclusivity, and teachers acknowledged their passion for learning. 

Similarly, on Saturday, October 19, members of the community, both PCS and greater Santa Cruz County alike, gathered at the old Borland campus in Scotts Valley to celebrate the life of the departed Salika-Adamic family. Friends of the Salika-Adamic family reflected on the deep engagement and impact both Diana and Steve had on the PCS community. In particular, Diana spearheaded the organization of the PCS Capstone Night every year, and was deeply involved in student showcase events, as she started the Student Lecture Series that previously occurred at PCS. Steve Salika was a senior manager at Apple, and had worked for the company for over three decades. Steve’s co-workers described him as a positive force in the company, “whose energy and enthusiasm touched so many people across our company throughout his career,” said Deirdre O’Brien, a senior vice president at Retail + People.

At the memorial, many of Tia’s friends spoke about her kindness, generosity, intellect, and her dedication to the environment, as Tia’s love for animals led her to regularly volunteer at the SPCA, and also care for foster kittens. Friends of Tia’s noted that her open mindedness and caring attitude always made her a warm individual to be around. Along with always offering her warm heart to animals, Tia was a member of the GSA club, and was also a talented artist, whose work can be found displayed around the PCS campus, and in school publications like The Finch literary magazine. At the end of the memorial, people enjoyed food together, and continued to share lasting memories of the Salika-Adamic family, some in tears, others embracing their friends and family.

Students, staff, parents, and former PCS students and teachers also gathered in Ms. Roth’s room a few weeks prior to both memorials to write beautiful letters and mementos for both Tia and Berenice, which were all displayed together on the upstairs bulletin board. Although our friends Berenice, Tia, Steve, and Diana are no longer with us today, they will always be remembered and cherished by the PCS Community and everyone who knew them.

 

Websites 

For sharing thoughts and memories: http://salika-adamic-family.lastingmemories.com 

Memorial fund for Berenice Felipe’s family: www.gofundme.com/f/assistance-for-yadira-alvarez 

Adamic donations: to scanimalshelter.org, secore.org

Donations for all families affected by the tragedy: www.diversalertnetwork.org/theconception/