Dujuan Thompson and his teammates from Harshman Magnet Middle School had a lot to celebrate this weekend: school ends Tuesday and he and his team just won a conference title for football.
The 14-year-old athlete lost his life Sunday while swimming at Hidden Paradise Campground in St. Paul, Ind.
Thompson's basketball coach Michael Peterson said an incredible teenager and all-star athlete was lost.
"Dujuan is what you call a small freak of nature,” said Peterson. “Athleticism, timing of the ball, speed, agility. Everything is off-the-chart.”
Thompson was an off-the-chart kid who was celebrating with his teammates from IPS.
They came to the Decatur County campsite for a fun swim.
The group of 8th-grade students had only been at the campground for a few minutes when witnesses said Thompson and a few others snuck off, while parents were organizing the group to get lifejackets.
Witnesses said Thompson went under the water and never came up.
Officers with the Department of Natural Resources later recovered Thompson's body from 19 feet of water.
"You wish it was... maybe he bumped his head and he's got a concussion or he broke a leg, and... but Dujuan's not coming back,” said Peterson. “So, you know, I just feel so bad for his peers at school and his mom.”
Thompson had already touched the lives of so many friends and teammates as a member of the football, basketball and track teams.
Friends said he was a leader who lent his smile to anyone who was struggling, and now, his coach wants to lend support to Thompson’s family and do something for his legacy.
Thompson’s basketball league at IPS is going to rename an MVP Award in his honor.
The middle school’s principal, Robert Guffin, said the school will remember Thompson Monday morning at the school’s award ceremony. He said students will sign posters for Thompson’s family, and they will hold a moment of silence in the late student’s honor.
Thompson’s mother, Julia Webb, was present at the event and spoke with Fox59 about the tragedy.
“I truly believe that when it’s your time, it’s your time, and there’s nothing to prevent it,” said Webb. “God could have put breath back into it, but he didn’t, and my son went out a champion. He was truly blessed and I gotta remember that.”
Peterson said Thompson could swim. DNR officials at the scene said they did not know if he had a pre-existing medical condition, which may have contributed to his death.
The campsite has signs warning guests to swim at their own risk.