WALKERTON, Ind. (WNDU) - The John Glenn High School community is mourning the loss of a stellar student who was a leader on the basketball court and a person determined to be the best that he could be.
Zac Mago, 17, died unexpectedly July 5. On Tuesday night, hundreds of people who were impacted by Zac's life and community members showed up for his viewing at the high school gymnasium.
“This is where he was the star,” said high school principal Will Morton.
Zac and the principal were very close during his time in the school, unlike most freshman who start there.
“He had this tremendous effort that he expended and put forth and set a great example modeling that,” Morton said.
A model for both his peers and team.
“Zac’s the heart and soul of our program,” said head basketball coach Travis Hannah. “Everybody looked to Zac for guidance and for leadership and he provided that for us.”
Zac was an incredibly self-motivated student and player who strived to be the very best that he could be. Many said he would spend hours even after basketball practice to make himself an even better player.
“That’s the thing I think we’re all going to miss the most, just the desire he had to get better and the enthusiasm that he brought every single day,” Hannah said.
At Zac’s vigil Tuesday night, school counselors offered different outlets for students to grieve by doing things like making beaded bracelets, to writing down a favorite memory on an index card.
“When you’re grieving it’s going to come in waves,” said counselor Stephanie Reynolds. “I think it’s a long process so to be able to have these things on hand that at different times in a week, a month, months from now they can go through these different things. I think that helps the grieving process.”
A process that won’t end any time soon as loved-ones say goodbye in his home away from home, the high school gymnasium.
“I think the difficult time is going to come when we try to get back to normal and normal isn’t normal anymore and I’m going to be honest with you, we don’t know, it’s kind of unchartered water for us,” Hannah said. “We’re going to have to play it by ear and make sure we can comfort the kids any way that we can.”
“He gave us the best present anyone could ever give and that’s the present of presence,” Morton said. “We are richer because of Zac’s presence.”
Zac’s funeral will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the high school gymnasium.
If any students are in need of counseling services, simply call the school's office during business hours. You are also encouraged to email the counselors or reach out on social media if you need to speak to someone and they will make themselves available.