Winston (Sammy) Perez-Ventura, whose acceptance to Cornell went viral, was swimming in Fall Creek, close to Ithaca Falls, on Saturday, but he never resurfaced.
Eventually, after first responders and state police searched the area for several hours, his body was discovered on Saturday evening.
Perez-Ventura’s acceptance to Cornell went viral when it was captured on an ABC News video, in which he could be seen opening the early acceptance email and being hugged by other excited high school students.
“Cornell was always his dream from the very first day I met him,” said Danielle Leach, Perez-Ventura’s high school homeroom teacher and college counselor. “He handed me a little piece of paper that said, ‘Cornell is my first choice and I want to study architecture.’”
“He was such a bright young man with a very promising future at Cornell and beyond,” said Ryan Lombardi, Cornell’s vice president for student and campus life.
Freshman orientation would have started for Perez-Ventura just two weeks from now. Freshman are required to pass a swim test and must take an additional class if they fail.