Word spread throughout Southampton High School Tuesday that the evening before, 11th-grade student Emilio Padilla-Berrezueta died.
Superintendent J. Richard Boyes, Ed.D., said that once officials confirmed the news, a statement was prepared for teachers to read to their students to inform them of the tragedy and let them know that counselors are available.
Monday was to be Padilla-Berrezueta's last day of classes at Southampton High School before transferring to East Hampton High School, after his mother took a job in Montauk with on-site housing, according to he school district.
"Emilio had joined the district in ninth grade," Dr. Boyes wrote in an open letter to the district community. "He was well-liked and had many friends, especially within the Hispanic/Latino community. Emilio was very artistic and had a passion for drawing and painting. He had a great sense of humor as well."
Dr. Boyes said the district contacted its crisis intervention team and support services were made available to students and staff, as well as for family and community members. In an email to staff, Dr. Boyes said several staff members were sent to Padilla-Berrezueta's home to support his family, and Spanish-speaking counselors and staff from East Hampton and Tuckahoe school districts were brought into the high school to supplement Southampton's counselors.
"The district is truly saddened by this terribly tragic news and many are deeply affected by this loss," Dr. Boyes said. "The Southampton Board of Education and Administration extends their deepest sympathy and prayers to Emilio’s family and friends as they grieve the loss of their loved one."
Padilla-Berrezueta is survived by two sisters, Cristina Padilla, who graduated from Southampton High School in 2001, and Ximena Bermeo, who was a junior at the high school until a week ago when she transfered to East Hampton.