Ikechukwu Onwuzurike, 18, was headed to Washington University in St. Louis on a full-ride scholarship before his life was tragically cut short in a raft accident in southern Lake Huron.
Onwuzurike’s body was found by divers three hours after he disappeared. “It’s just so hard, it’s comforting to know I had 18 years with him but I just wish I had more,” Chris Onwuzurike, Ikechukwu’s father tells the Detroit Free Press.
Onwuzurike was a recent graduate of Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills and has been described as one of the “best and brightest” by the school. Onwuzurike was an active student, participating in track and field and was also an officer for the National Honors Society.
Friends, family, students, and faculty gathered Wednesday evening for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Onwuzurike, who was known as Ike among his friends. The vigil at “The Rock” brought more than 100 people together, and students left flowers, his picture and other items as memorials to their classmate.
Tears flowed as people remembered his infectious smile and kind demeanor, the Free Press said.
Mrs. Clark, his third-grade teacher, wrote: “Ike came to see me at St. Regis last month, after he finished his last final. I was his third grade teacher. He told me of his summer plans and his thoughts on going off to university. Like everyone whose life he touched, I was so proud of him. Before we parted he said to me, ‘One last hug.’ My heart will forever cherish his memory. Prayers to his incredible family at this most tragic time.
Students have taken to Twitter to express their condolences and love for Ike using the hashtag #RipIke.
Counselors will be available today for those who need help coping with the tragedy. Brother Rice High School will have counselors stationed at the ARC between 10-2p.m.