Lancer Nation showed up en masse Saturday night at Lakeside High School to remember its
Nearly 1,000 people – most of them students -- turned out for a candlelight vigil in memory of the former Lancer leader .
The impromptu vigil was organized via Facebook by a group of five Lancer alum who said Moscowitz, 37, was more than a star principal.
“He was our friend. He motivated and encouraged us,” said 2011 Lakeside grad Kyle Everett, one of the Lancer five.
“I never had an educator who touched so many,” said Lancer five Ashley Lee, class of 2010. “This is beautiful,” she said, looking out into a sea of forest green Lancer pride.
The students said they wanted to pay tribute to their principal who took over the school’s top spot in the 2008-09 school year before leaving the district this past summer for a position as director of professional development in the Hemet Unified School District.
They said Moscowitz was unlike any educator they had ever met. He was easy to talk to, had a sense of humor, remembered every student, and showed interest in them, they said.
Lancer parent Garry Jalowka said his daughter graduated from Lakeside in 2011.
“He connected with the kids. He took the time and that’s rare,” Jalowka said.
During the vigil, one by one students came to the front of the crowd to share their thoughts. Flanked by Moscowitz’s wife, daughters, parents, and siblings, the students poured out their feelings into a microphone.
David Jankay, a Lakeside senior who plays on the school’s football team and who was recently picked to the homecoming court, stood in front of his peers wiping tears as they streamed down his face.
Jankay came to Lakeside at the same time Moscowitz did.
“Make me proud like you always do,” and “You’re going to be a special kid,” were words of motivation shared with Jankay by his mentor.
Michael Sallady, a Lakeside junior, told the crowd through tears that Moscowitz gave him hope after he lost his grandmother to cancer.
“My grandma raised me from birth,” Sallady said, explaining that Moscowitz was there for him, even when he got into some trouble.
“You don’t have to act like a different person around me,” Sallady said Moscowitz told him.
Moscowitz’s wife and three daughters, Noelle, Alexis and Hailey, also addressed the crowd. Noelle, the oldest, is a Lakeside student.
Donning a Lakeside Lancer scarf, Christine told the students, “You’re all his children. He always talked about all of you. Never give up on your dreams.”
Angel Garcia and Israel Ponce, both Lakeside juniors, along with Erik Navarro, a senior at the school, said they will remember Moscowitz as a father figure who pushed them to make Lake Elsinore a better city through community service work.
Their principal also challenged them to aim high and believe in themselves.
Moscowitz, Navarro said, “put Lakeside on the map.”