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Mootz was a member of Green Valley High School's wrestling team and choir group. (Facebook)
Students signed a memorial with dedications for their fallen classmate.
HENDERSON, NV (FOX5) -
Students at Green Valley High School are facing a tougher challenge than tests and homework as they showed up for the first day of the school year.
They're dealing with the loss of classmate Will Mootz, who died after being swept into the running waters of the Pittman Wash.
"It wasn't just a random kid in a random class," said Kennedy Robertson who is Mootz's friend. "He's been there for me."
A week ago Kennedy Robertson expected to see his friend William Mootz in class at the school they had attended since freshman year. Robertson and Mootz were both members of the Green Valley High School choir, a group that's in mourning now after losing one of its own.
"It still hurts to this day," said Robertson. "It's definitely heartbreaking."
The loss is especially heartbreaking for Mootz's singing partner Ricoh Sevilla. The last thing he remembers Mootz saying was "see you on the first day of school."
"It's basically like losing a family member," said Sevilla. "Choir was a single close-knit group of kids."
Extra grief counselors were at Green Valley High School to help students. Outside the choir room, students also wrote personal messages to Mootz expressing their loss.
"There's no greater loss than the loss of a youngster who had everything ahead of him," said Kelli Grimm, a school grief counselor.
"There's sadness here at this school," said Principal Jeff Horn. "We are going to miss Will and what he brought to the school."
The choir class plans to dedicate each performance in Mootz's memory. They want to remember how he lived, not how he died.
"We have to be him," said Sevilla. "We have to smile. I think something to learn from this is that you need to live each day knowing tomorrow isn't necessarily promised to you."
The Clark County Coroner's Office said Mootz drowned. He also had trauma to the head, most likely caused by debris from the flood waters.
Mootz's funeral is tentatively set for Saturday. The school is accepting donations to help with funeral costs. The family also set up an account for donations in Mootz's name at Nevada State Bank.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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