VERONA (KDKA) — The community of Verona is in mourning today following the loss of an 11-year-old boy who was found at the bottom of a local swimming pool and later died.
At his school, Christopher Myers was a fifth grader who is being described as a boy who had a bright future. Meanwhile, the pool is closed while the investigation continues.
For people who knew 11-year-old Christopher Myers, his loss comes as a crushing blow right at the end of what was a good school year.
The boy’s principal told KDKA-TV Ross Guidotti that Myers’ death came on the same day he was recognized for excellence in the classroom.
The sign posted at the Rosedale Beach Club on Saturday showed that the popular swimming pool was closed one day after Myers was pulled from the water lifeless.
“This was a little boy that I have known since kindergarten, a wonderful, wonderful little boy and the loss of him is just unbearable,” said Darlene Scopel, Myers’ principal.
Scopel was the boy’s principal at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Verona. The fateful trip to the pool was supposed to be the kickoff to a great summer after an exceptional year for the child.
“He had received an award as the most improved student. He had worked very, very hard and had done so well in school this year,” said Scopel.
Myers also made the volleyball squad and played in the band. He was coming into his own as a preteen and person.
“His smile was amazing. When he smiled at you, his entire face lit up,” she said. “Chris was one of the kindest young 11-year-olds I’ve ever met. His heart was so big. He was very kind to younger children and everyone who knew him really, really liked Chris.”
If there is something to be learned in the wake of this tragedy, especially for the boy’s fifth grade classmates, Scopel says it may be to celebrate Myers’ life.
“I think the biggest lesson is to celebrate Chris as a gift.. He was a gift to all of us, as we are all gifts,” she said. “Celebrate that time they had with him in all of his goodness and kindness and let it be an example for all of us.”
Scopel says counselors will remain available to Myers’ classmates for as long as needed.