STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Students and faculty at the Harvard-Westlake school in Studio City are mourning the loss of an 11th grade standout who died Friday during a workout in the school’s pool.
CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Louisa Hodge says an autopsy has been completed on Justin Carr but more tests have to be done before an official cause of death is known.
Friend Francis Hyde, a senior, said Carr’s death has taken the entire school by surprise. “We’re all very shaken up by it.”
Hyde was getting done with volleyball practice, and in the training room, when word spread that Carr had lost consciousness and collapsed in the pool. Despite efforts to resuscitate him poolside, Carr died at Sherman Oaks Hospital.
Jeanne M. Huybrechts, head of Harvard-Westlake, sent a letter home to parents. It read in part, “It is impossible for me to summarize all that Justin was in just a few sentences. Scholar, athlete, singer, actor, ebullient child, he was an extraordinary young man by any measure.” According to the school’s newspaper, Huybrechts also taught Carr Algebra II during his sophomore year. She wrote, “Justin was a caring friend to many, great company and fun to be around.”
Tim Hyde, Francis’ father, also thought Carr was extraordinary. “He was full of life. A vibrant, gregarious young man.”
Francis Hyde saw Carr Friday morning and said he saw nothing out of the ordinary. “We’re in the same geology class,” said Hyde, “And I was talking to him about his recent field trip.”
According to the school’s newspaper, Carr was scheduled to perform at a dance concert next week and also planned to go to Europe with the school’s Chamber Singers during Spring break.
Carr was also a leader of the Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club and was proud to have introduced actor Samuel L. Jackson at the Black History Assembly earlier this month.
On Monday, Hodge reports there will be a school assembly at 8 a.m. to give students and faculty a time to grieve.
UPDATE: Sunday Carr’s parents told school officials their son apparently had cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle.