Friends gather at Grayslake Central to honor teen who drowned
Friends of a 16-year-old Grayslake Central High School student who drowned in Third Lake honored the teen Tuesday by releasing green and white helium-filled balloons matching the school's colors.
Dozens of teens and adults gathered on the school's football field to remember Matt Reed, an incoming junior from Grayslake who died Monday while boating and swimming with friends in the neighboring community.
The mourners stood in silence for a while, even after the last balloon drifted out of view.
Daniel Choi, a 2013 Grayslake Central graduate, organized the balloon launch.
"All I have to say is that he was a great kid," Choi said. "(He) always made everyone happier. He's truly going to be missed here on campus."
Preliminary results from an autopsy conducted Tuesday morning indicate Reed drowned, the Lake County coroner's office said. Additional test results are pending.
Reed was swimming on the large, private lake about 4 p.m. Monday when he went under the water and didn't resurface, authorities said.
Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Sara Balmes described Reed's swimming skills as "moderate." He was in the water for about five minutes when he began struggling and then went down, Balmes said.
His body was found in roughly 60 feet of water about 8 p.m. by fire department divers using sonar equipment.
Reed was on Grayslake Central's sophomore basketball team, the lacrosse team and the golf team, District 127 Associate Superintendent Renee Zoladz said.
"He was quite the athlete," she said.
Reed's basketball coach, Brian Moe, described the teen as "a funny, outgoing, caring kid who always had a smile on his face."
He also cared about other students and doing well in his academic work, Moe said in statement released by the school district.
"He was extremely hardworking and gave great effort to all of his endeavors," Moe said. "Matt was a great friend and had a positive impact on all of the students and staff that worked with him."
The balloon release occurred midday Tuesday. Several friends shared memories of Reed with the Daily Herald after the event.
They talked of Reed's athleticism, his laugh and his positive attitude.
"He was the nicest kid ever," said Jake Damore.
"I love that kid," said golf teammate Michael Murdy.
Some friends shared comments about Reed on Twitter using the #prayformattreed hashtag.
District 127 officials acknowledged Reed's death on the school's website.
"Our hearts and prayers are with Matt's family and we are working together to support the Reed family, as well as our students and staff," a note on the school's homepage said.
Members of the school administration and crisis team met Tuesday. Counselors, staffers, and administrators will be available to support and assist students at Grayslake Central and at sister school Grayslake North.
A list of available support services can be viewed at central.d127.org.
Daily Herald Staff Writer Bob Chwedyk contributed to this report.