A school is in mourning after an “inspirational” pupil died suddenly at the weekend, just days before taking his GCSEs .
Arlind Koka, 15, a student at Philips High School in Whitefield, Bury, is understood to have had a medical condition but his death was totally unexpected.
Today his head teacher and fellow pupils paid tribute to “a unique and inspirational” student, who remained positive despite health issues.
Stunned by the tragedy, they have pinned messages to a tree within the school grounds, and left floral tributes at the foot of it, reports the Manchester Evening News .
A permanent memorial at the school – possibly a garden – is now being planned for him.
Head teacher, Tina Owen, said: “We are all devastated, both pupils and staff. I asked the children to give me words to describe Arlind and they chose, ‘unique, inspirational, loving’ and ‘a caring individual’.
“His favourite saying was ‘it’s fine’, because he always had a positive outlook on life.
“He loved going to the gym and playing football, his friends said he had a good left foot and a bad right one. He loved watching Manchester United.
“We are planning an indoor tribute tree to him as well and a lasting one -maybe landscaping – a place where pupils can reflect.
“Arlind has been with us since year 7 and he has a sister in year 8. We have had counsellors come into school, to help children and teachers. Arlind was a really popular with pupils and staff.”
(Photo: Manchester Evening News)
In a letter to parents, Ms Owen said: “It is with deep regret that I am writing to inform about a recent loss to our school community. On Saturday one of our Year 11 students passed away unexpectedly.
“Tutors have spoken to their tutor groups and we realise that this is going to be a very difficult time for students and their families and some students will need support and guidance.”
Reece Hodgson praised pupils for the way they had come together to support each other through the loss, and that although it was hard, it was time to focus on their upcoming exams and make their friend proud.
Reece posted on social media: “Year 11 has made Arlind proud today everyone has came together and have shown respect for him and giving flowers and letters on the tree.
“Year 11 now I know it’s hard but we need to push through it and smash our GCSEs for him and now Philips Year 11 let’s do him proud.”
(Photo: Manchester Evening News)
Presley Whitbread added: “Hope my year is okay, all need to stay strong for Arlind it’s what he would of wanted, my thoughts are with his family and his friends. Rest in peace Arlind.”
Jen Crawshaw posted: “RIP Arlind, was taken way too early and you’ll be missed by many, thoughts and prayers are with family and friends, gone but never forgotten.”
Nicola Williams wrote: “So much bad news today makes you realise how precious life is. Fly high Arlind.”
A friend of Arlind’s relatives said the family were too upset to speak when approached by the M.E.N.
Their loss was described as a ‘terrible time’ by friend Mehmet Kraja.
Anna Johnson tweeted: “RIP Arlind. Gone too soon.”
Becca wrote on Twitter: “Some things are so unexpected and make you value your life more and put everything into perspective. RIP Arlind, you will be missed by many.”
Cameron Whelan said: “RIP Arlind, thoughts go out to his family and friends.”
Chloe added: “RIP Arlind. I’ll miss you buddy. At least you’re not in pain anymore.”