Holliston High School students this week are remembering classmate Raghav Balaji, who they learned died last week in his native India.
Last Friday, teachers read a statement to their classrooms, informing students that Balaji, a senior, had died overseas. The school held a memorial for him yesterday.
Balaji often traveled to India with family members to recover from a stomach illness that had plagued him since early childhood.
"Students were really sad. He was a really popular kid with lots of friends," Principal Michael Cournoyer said.
At a memorial held in the school's library on Thursday, students spoke about Balaji's spirited nature and optimistic attitude.
"He wasn't in class all the time, but when he was, it would brighten your day," said senior Tom Waterman. "He never complained at all."
The memorial was organized by one of the school's students, Andrew DesRochers.
"Any formal services that were hosted happened overseas; that's why the students really wanted to get something together here," Cournoyer said.
Balaji was expected to graduate in May, and was a "college-bound kid," Cournoyer said. He was involved in extracurricular activities including robotics club and math team.
While his condition required him to travel to India for treatment, often for entire semesters, he kept up with the work assigned to him by Holliston teachers.
"He was just starting the college application process when he got sick," Cournoyer said.
After the memorial, students looked upon a display of candles in the school's courtyard in remembrance of Balaji.