BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) -- For the fourth time since Memorial Day, the students and staff at a Brunswick County school are dealing with loss.
In the just the past three weeks South Brunswick High School has seen three students and one teacher unexpectedly die. The latest is a student and athlete just days away from graduating.
"It's sad, 'cause he ain't going to graduate with them," student Eoles Whitaker said. "It's like another person that's not going to graduate with them."
For Whitaker, the loss of football teammate James Prince is heartbreaking.
"That's like my brother, yo. That's like my brother," Whitaker said. "He was just here not too long ago. It's just sad."
The 17-year-old Prince drowned Tuesday night near the Yaupon Pier in Oak Island. William Brennan says he saw the whole thing.
"He walks into the start of the boat (grounded on the beach) and washed the sand off, and then he kind of just went to the end of the boat and the current kind of just grabbed him and didn't see him after that," Brennan said.
Several people tried to find Prince after he went under, but could not. Bystanders later found his body, but it was too late.
Prince was a senior who played football and basketball at South Brunswick High. Friends describe him as a stellar athlete and say he was the type of guy to stop you in the hallway for a hug if he knew you were feeling down.
"He made people laugh, joke," Whitaker said. "Sitting at the lunchtable, we would laugh. All the girls loved him"
Grief counselors are available at the school for anyone who needs support in this tough time.
A memorial service to celebrate Prince's life will be held tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. on the school's football field.