The Manchester High School community held a vigil Monday night to remember a student who drowned in the school's pool the day before Thanksgiving.
The 14-year-old had been taking part in a swim class when he was discovered in the deep end.
Friends of Malvrick Donkor said he just arrived from Ghana, Africa in March and this was his first year attending an American high school.
"He was really nice and always had a good mood," said freshman Laura DeForest.
They said the freshman, who played soccer and had many friends, was taking part in the swim class Wednesday morning. According to Manchester's superintendent, the class had ended and the students were getting out of the pool when the teacher saw Donkor at the bottom of the pool in the deep end.
He was rushed to Manchester Memorial Hospital, but it was too late.
Donkor's friends said he may not have known how to swim, and while swim class is required, those students are supposed to stay in the shallow end.
"I just came from swimming, so it kinda freaked me out a little," DeForest said.
Superintendent of Schools Richard Kiesiel would not comment on Donkor's swimming ability.
The drowning is under investigation by school officials and the police department.
However, Eyewitness News has learned from sources that Donkor was at the bottom of the deep end for 17 minutes as classmates unknowingly swam above.
Kiesiel would not comment on that.
"That can happen to anyone and it could have been my best friend and it's really devastating," said freshman Kalee Trinh.
Kiesiel also said the school district has not heard from the attorney Donkor's family has hired.
The swimming teacher is on indefinite paid administrative leave.
The pool has been closed until further notice.
"It does kind of creep me out, every time I see the high school gym I'm gonna think about that," said junior Tyler Roman.
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