"This lady started screaming: someone's drowning! Someone's drowning!" remembered Vandercook Lake High School Senior Valerie Gorton.
It will be the moment she never forgets. She frantically searched the shoreline of Vandercook Lake for 18-year-old Kwatez Hardrick, before realizing her friend of four years was the same person everyone around her was trying to save.
"He was under there for too long though, I guess." Now the senior class of 84 people are dealing with the devastating loss of their friend during the very week they've looked forward to for so long: "It won't be the same...I won't enjoy it because he won't be here."
Even though the seniors' last day was Friday, most of them came back to campus right after hearing the news to hold a candlelight vigil.
Valerie says the worst part for many of them is, Kwatez was on the brink of achieving his dream: "He was going into the Army. He was supposed to leave in a month."
The High School's Principal Mark Schonhard says grief counseling will be available for any students as long as it's needed: "Many of them came back to just have the chance to talk about memories."
The students also took that time to plan last-minute adjustments, in his honor, to their Baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies, along with their post-graduation school party.
"We're talking with the kids; there's conversations going on and they're talking to each other about what they would like," continued Schonhard.
Struggling to organize so many memories about their friend, in just a few days; including what Valerie is left with: "He always kept the ones he loved smiling, and that was the best part about him."
The community is already organizing a few fund-raisers for Kwatez's family. One includes a hot dog sale that will take place at the Family Dollar Store on McDevitt this Thursday, and you can stop by any time between 11 a.m.-5 p.m.