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Crowd remembers lost Canyon High student

More than 200 gather for Nicholas Pruett memorial

Posted: March 24, 2009 2:04 a.m.
Updated: March 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Seventeen-year-old Breanna Pruett gets hugged by a relative during her brother Nicholas Wayne Pruett's memorial service at First Christian Church in Canyon Country Monday afternoon. Nicholas Pruett died March 17 of an apparent heart failure.

 

More than 200 students, many toting backpacks and holding candles, trudged nearly two miles from Canyon High School to First Christian Church, where they shared memories of Nicholas Wayne Pruett.

Pruett, a 14-year-old Canyon High freshman, was jogging in a Granada Hills park with his grandmother, Audrey Plasky, who was walking the family dogs, when he collapsed last Tuesday.

Family members rushed him to a hospital but he died of apparent heart failure about 4:50 p.m.

"I had no idea so many people cared about him; it means a lot to know so many did," said Breanna Pruett, Nick's sister, who organized the walk that preceded his memorial service.

"We used to build sand castles with him," said friends Felipe Herrera and Steven Naillieux. "We've (been) friends ever since we met him."

Herrera said he was crushed when he found out about Pruett's death.

"At first I tried to hold it in and then at lunch, I came out and I just started crying," he said. "I think he'd like this (gathering). He had a lot of friends. He had no enemies. He was just a good kid; he didn't deserve this."

The procession brought together students of different high school and junior high ages from diverse schools. Many friends said Pruett was a popular guy.

"We used to hang out every day at school," said Kristina De Stefano, 14, as she held a yellow rose for Pruett. "I think he would be so happy - he would love to see how many people support him and love him."

Pruett's grandparents, with whom he had been living, joined the group as they turned onto Soledad Canyon Road from Whites Canyon Road. They walked the last block with the group as many students approached them with hugs.

"This is so moving," said Robert Plasky, Pruett's grandfather. "We knew he was well liked, but boy, this is an outstanding turnout. We're so proud of Nick."

Once the group reached the church, the teens joined other friends and family in packing its aisles and walkways.

"Find something good (of Nick) and make it part of you and when you do, then you anchor part of Nick's spirit in your soul and in your mind," said Pastor Bill Haley, who led the service and stood before a table of Nick's various belongings, including a skate board.

Nick Pruett is survived by his sister, Breanna; his father, Carl Pruett; his grandparents, Michael and Natalia Kuretich, Harry and Evelyn Pruett, Audrey and Robert Plasky; and his aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

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