Simone Scott “was a bright star,” her mother said Monday night.
The 19-year-old, who died June 11 after a heart transplant, had been vice president of her class at Mason High School, a student journalist and a hard-working freshman at Northwestern University. She’d planned on leaving the prestigious school with two bachelor’s degrees: One in political science and one in broadcast journalism.
“She set a vision for what she wanted to accomplish in life, and she was bound and determined to accomplish those goals,” said Scott’s mother, Valerie Kramer, in a phone call with WCPO.
Scott’s dream was to be a journalist, and she was chasing it even in high school. Mona Morrow, who interviewed Scott when she applied to be a WCPO intern in 2019, remembers a candidate who was impossible to turn down.
“She was outstanding,” Morrow, WCPO’s community affairs director, said. “I mean, it was like a no-brainer to accept her into the program and welcome her.”
People who knew her as a student remember the same young woman: Bright, ambitious, talented and industrious.
“Simone was one of those girls who just had such an impact on everyone she met, and I was one of those people,” said Tracey Carson, a spokesperson for Mason City Schools. “We are a big school district with over 10,000 students, but we react as a small-town community, and so we all know each other and we all feel the ripples of this tragedy and grief."
Scott died after contracting a virus that attacked her heart, according to her former district. The outlook grew so severe that she received a heart transplant — and, afterward, appeared to recover.
But her condition declined again quickly. She spent 28 days in the hospital before her death on June 11.
“Many people may not know it, but we've lost a journalist who would have changed lives,” Morrow said.
Mason City Schools did not disclose the details of Scott’s medical struggle but said she had not been dealing with COVID-19.
“She had dreams and aspirations, and we are just devastated that she was taken from us prematurely,” her mother said.