While taking a test requiring him to tread water for 30 minutes, Military officials say 18-year-old Josh Islam died during a training exercise at Camp Pendelton in California.
Islam graduated from Weddington High School in June of 2013 and according to the school's principal enlisted in the Marines immediately afterward.
"It hurts our students, it hurts our community and it hurts our faculty," said Jonathan Bowers, Weddington High School principal.
Bowers remembers Islam as a hard worker with a great personality.
The principal says it took Islam a few years to figure out what direction he wanted to take in life. But when he decided to journey down the path of the United States Marine Corps, Bowers said he wasn't going to be stopped.
"He had finally arrived at the moment where he could serve his country and was doing a tremendous job of doing that," said Bowers.
Before the Lady Warriors varsity basketball game tipped off Friday night, Bowers lead the school in a moment of silence. Students in the ROTC held a Marine flag as the National Anthem echoed over the loud speaker.
"It really made my heart sink," said 2012 graduate Eileen Keller.
Keller says she took a class with Josh and remembers his personality best.
"He made me smile," she said. "Even if you didn't know Josh it still hurts that a classmate passed away."
Islam helped the Warriors baseball team to back-to-back State Championships in his last two years at the school. Bowers says he remembers that well.
"One of the things I remember most is that last year he pitched game 1 of the State Championship game," said Bowers.
The principal says even though those are strong memories, the 18-year-old will be missed for many other reasons.
"He was just a true role model for other students," said Bowers. "Someone that they could look to and actually say I see how hard he works and that sets the example and I too can work hard and be successful as well."