HOLLYWOOD, SC (WCSC) - A school in Hollywood is mourning the death of a student who drowned in a pond Monday night.
The victim, 13 year old Genesis Holmes was swimming with a friend when he went under water, according to Charleston County sheriff's deputies. One of the first calls was made to the principal at Lowcountry Leadership Charter School where Holmes was in the seventh grade.
"I was praying it wasn't true, said principal Mache Larkin.
Larkin went to the scene on Highway 162 in Hollywood to see for herself.
"The longer we waited and watched, the more our hopes sort of diminished of having good news."
Soon they got the bad news that Holmes had died. Deputies say Holmes and his friend tried to swim to an island in the middle of the pond, but Holmes didn't make it.
Tuesday, the flag at school flew at half staff in honor of him.
Jason Williams was one of his teachers and broke the news to his class.
"I've lost family and good friends in my life, but never something I've had to explain to this age group because there is no explanation," Williams said.
The school guidance counselor and crisis chaplains were available for both students and faculty.
"At the beginning of the day it was very, very quiet here. You could hardly hear anything but just whimpers," said Larkin.
But as the day went on, Larkin says students openly expressed their feelings.
"He was a great young man. He had a wonderful personality. All the students loved him."
It's a school that is pulling together to stay strong.
"We've overcome many obstacles this year. This is one that we never would have imagined that we would have had to deal with. It's one that will take a long time for us to overcome," Larkin said.
"My heart goes out to the family. I can't imagine to be on that side. We want to do everything we can to help them out after this," Williams said.
Larkin says the friend who was swimming with Holmes also attends Lowcountry Leadership Charter School.