By Zack Woltanski

On Thursday, Feb. 2, local schools, charitable organizations and the community at large will come together to celebrate the fourth annual Pascal’s Way Day of Service. This local holiday seeks to carry on the legacy of Pascal Weisberger, a 14-year-old student, volunteer, scout and beloved friend, who tragically passed away in May of 2020. He left behind him a legacy of service, and is remembered for his extraordinary kindness and empathy.

A proponent for pets, Pascal Weisberger spent numerous hours volunteering at the Upper Keys Humane Society. CONTRIBUTED

Pascal is widely recognized for his dedication to serving and helping the community. “If someone needed help, he never hesitated to want to help them,” said Ariel Poholek, Pascal’s father. Last March, the Monroe County Commission officially declared Feb. 2, his birthday, as Pascal’s Annual Day of Service. On this holiday, local students are encouraged to take part in community service activities, such as beach cleanups.

 “Pascal’s light continues to shine down on our community,” said Monroe County Commissioner Holly Raschein, who named Pascal’s Day an official day in Monroe County.

In his last years, Pascal accrued thousands of community service hours. The Upper Keys Humane Society, where he spent more than 2,000 hours volunteering, recently named its new surgical suite in his honor. 

“(Pascal Weisberger) spread a little kindness everywhere he would go,” said Karla Perrine, who manages the shelter. 

“All the animals at the shelter always took to him because of his calm, kind nature,” said Hillary Cassel, one of his teachers during elementary school.

He is also remembered for his interest in science and for how much he cared about the environment. Starting in elementary school, he and his father attended monthly beach cleanups. 

“Pascal was an activist for the environment.  He was not just the boy who said the ocean is dirty, he was the activist who takes the actions necessary to clean it up. Throughout his life, he worked tirelessly to help clean our oceans through conducting experiments and devising solutions to make our world a cleaner place,” said Bobbi Burson, his middle school science teacher at Treasure Village Montessori. 

His science fair experiments throughout elementary and middle school touched on environmental problems like plastic pollution. Pascal’s Environmental Stewardship Award is given to projects at the middle school and high school levels of the district science fair that explore local environmental issues. 

“Pascal genuinely cared about everyone in his life, from his closest family members to acquaintances he just met,” said Martha Loizeaux, his elementary school marine science teacher. “He showed the same level of care for animals and the environment.”

Pascal Weisberger and Ocean Studies Charter School marine science teacher Martha Loizeaux. CONTRIBUTED

Pascal is most of all remembered for his empathy and compassion.

 “He made me want to be the best person I could be, not just as a father but as a person,” said Poholek. “It’s easy to get absorbed in whatever we’re thinking about but it’s worth it to take a minute to make a difference.” 

Jordan Lubis, who had been one of his best friends, remembers him for his beautiful character. “He was incredibly caring towards everyone and was such an amazing friend and person. His laughter was contagious, and he never failed to make me laugh or smile. I am grateful beyond anything to have had him as my best friend.” 

Treasure Village Montessori plans to hold a “Kindness Exchange” on Pascal’s Day, in which students are taught the values of kindness and compliments. 

Events taking place on Pascal’s Day of Service include a cleanup at Harry Harris from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Locals are invited to join Pascal’s former Boy Scout troop, Troop 912, as well as his father and close friends, to pick up marine debris at the beach. Treasure Village Montessori and Ocean Studies Charter School, both of which Pascal attended, will be holding special events for their students.

On May 7, Pascal’s Way 5K, an event inspired by Pascal’s love of running, will be held at Treasure Village Montessori as a fundraiser for the Upper Keys Humane Society.

Pascal Weisberger participates in a debris cleanup in the mangroves. CONTRIBUTED

“Pascal would be greatly touched and overwhelmed by the continued love and recognition he has received since he died,” said Poholek. “There’s no doubt that he would be incredibly honored that people continue to remember him in these ways, and as his father, I am deeply appreciative of the community’s continued remembrance of Pascal.”