Jan 05, 2012
By Scott P. Moore
Standard Staff Reporter
Uryan Rampersaud, a 17 year old Lawrence High School senior from Inwood, passed away on December 29th, 2011 due to a collapsed mitral valve in his heart, or simply when blood does not pass from one of the heart’s chambers to another properly for an unknown reason.
Rampersaud was an honor student at Lawrence High School, member of the Model Congress, Chess Club, Math Mentor, Student Government Treasurer, High School Orchestra and Varsity Tennis teams among other honors. He was also recently invited to the Long Island Psychology Fair along with three other Lawrence students for his work on showing the differences between how boys and girls interact formally and informally. He was also an aspiring doctor, according to his friends, and had been recently accepted into the University of Indiana’s seven year doctoral program.
“I’ll always remember the last time I was with him,” said Jeremy DiLuzio, also a senior at LHS. “We went to the city together, all of us, to this teen club and it was a really fun day.” He noted he would miss hearing Uryan laugh like he did that day when they tricked a friend into wearing a formal suit to the dance club.
He added: “He’s brought all of his friends together… we’ve put a lot of personal stuff aside. It’s just put life into perspective for us.”
Another friend, Lawrence senior Jake Gottesman, said he’d always remember the first time he and Uryan went to New York City together for a charity event run by rapper/hip-hop artist Jay-Z.
“I remember we walked in and we saw Jay-Z right there, [singer/actress] Beyonce and, all of a sudden, he sees [New York Yankees’ starting pitcher] C.C. Sabathia,” said Gottesman. “Uryan just wanted a picture with him and, since I messed up the first one, we went back for a second and [C.C.] was really cool about it. I’ve never seen him smile so wide.”
They said his brother, Dylan, said of Uryan, “His heart was too big for his body.”
The friends said everyone that knew Uryan are still adjusting to the shock, especially with school returning from break this past week.
“It’s been really quiet in the classes he was in,” said Lawrence senior Albert Salama. “Sometimes we’ll talk about him during the class instead. It’s just been a little more quiet in every class.”
He added: “I think it just shows that sometimes, we take our friends for granted.”
His friends also noted the community has taken notice to the strength his family has displayed throughout the ordeal.
“Everyone is seeing how strong and loving a family he had,” said Salama.
The three friends along with others including Lawrence students Ron Hirshberg, Gabi Golan, Habeeb Famuyide, Richard Luna, Kwadwo Agyapong and Nicole Gartner, have set up an online fundraiser through StayClassy, Inc.’s “Pencils of Promise.” Money raised will go towards supplies for a school in a third-world country or, if the goal of $10,000 is met, help build a classrom in the organization’s honor or even a full school if more funds are donated. As of Thursday evening, the group had reached $1,582 through less than a week online.
“We’ve been spreading the word around,” said Salama. “We’re just trying to make sure there’s always a way to remember Uryan.”
Gottesman’s mother, Amy, help the friends set the organization up on the website.
“I just felt like there was something we needed to do,” said Amy, who also help set up a Twitter account, @friendsofuryan, to thank those who have donated. “I thought this would be a perfect way to remember such an amazing kid.”
“I think he would of found [Pencils of Promise] really cool,” said DiLuzio.
Those interested in donating to the Pencils of Promise fundraiser in Uryan’s honor can log onto the website at uryan.stayclassy.org and help donate to the student’s memory. The website accepts major credit cards and also encourages sharing via email and social networks.
A memorial service was held at Lawrence High School on December 31st for the community to remember Uryan and he was laid to rest on January 3rd. Uryan is survived by his two younger brothers, his parents, and extended family and friends.
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