Sara was 18 and a freshman at San Diego State University when she passed away. She died from Serogroup B meningococcal disease. We thought she had the flu, but meningitis took her from us only 36 hours from her first symptoms. Sara was a California girl. She loved the sun and spending time at the beach. She also loved the snow and snowboarding. We would go to Mammoth once or twice a year where she became a good snowboarder.
Sara loved to travel and had been to Italy, Switzerland, Spain, England, Germany, France, Greece, Croatia, Austria, Costa Rica and Peru. We lived in Switzerland for almost three years from 2007-2010 and Sara absolutely loved it there. She attended an international school and made friends quickly. She was able to travel to other countries as part of school sponsored field trips. We also made many family trips to explore Europe. This is when she acquired the love for travel.
She was quirky, funny, confident and loved to make her friends laugh. She loved to break out in song and dance at the oddest moments and would sing along with the radio and sing in the shower. Sara also loved live concerts and had the opportunity to attend many during her short time with us.
During her junior year, she started a tradition where her group of friends would bring lawn chairs and breakfast and sit in the parking lot before school once a week. They called it BYOLC (bring your own lawn chair) and many started to join the fun. After her memorial service we had a gathering at the house and all her friends brought lawn chairs and sat at the end of the cul-de-sac, ate breakfast and shared stories.
An A student, Sara also participated in several activities including basketball and soccer. She and her best friends were the school mascots - the three musketeers, and she loved to make everyone laugh with her antics. She also loved a club called Youth & Government where she excelled and made many friends.
The summers between her junior and senior years, Sara went on two excursions. The first one to Costa Rica and the second to Peru, with a group of students from all corners of the US. The program is called Global Leadership Adventures, and Sara had a great time helping local impoverished students with art projects, teaching them a little English, and building them a greenhouse.
Sara lived a full life in the short time she was with us. She lived for the moment and always put a smile on people's faces with her cheerful disposition.
Please view a video that was created by a friend of Sara’s in her honor.
To apply for the Sara Stelzer Scholarship for Study Abroad, please visit The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
For more information on study abroad programs at San Diego State University, please visit our study abroad home page.