Ridgewood High School Student Died After Asthma Attack, Authorities Say
Sixteen-year-old Nick Campanello died early Wednesday morning while at a small gathering with friends.
A 16-year-old incoming senior at Ridgewood High School died early Wednesday, Ridgewood police confirmed.
Ridgewood police Cpt. Jacqueline Luthcke told Patch that police received a report at 3:36 a.m. Wednesday that a male juvenile was unresponsive at a residence in Ridgewood. The individual was reportedly driven to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Police would not release the name of the student, but the Ridgewood School District in letters sent to parents and students identified the deceased as Nick Campanello.
Several teens told Patch Campanello had been at a get-together with friends at the residence on Tuesday night.
Bergen County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Maureen Parenta said Campanello died from an asthma attack. The prosecutor's office is not investigating the case, she said.
"It's a tragedy for anything like this to happen but especially when it's someone so young," said Ridgewood Police Chief John Ward Wednesday night. "We're all praying for the family."
Numerous teens held a prayer vigil Wednesday night at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Youth Center for the 16-year-old Campanello, described by many as well-liked, easy going while possessing the uncanny ability to make those around him laugh.
"I always saw him having fun and enjoying himself," remembered classmate Taryn Carroll, adding that Campanello was an "extremely talented" choreographer and dancer who was active in RHS Asian Fest. "Anyone in the school dying is unexpected and tragic and but this was especially surprising because it hits closer to home. I've known him since 6th grade."
Teens in his extended circle of friends also extended their condolences via Twitter on Wednesday.
"Rest in peace," wrote user @LOLiva. "I know you're up in heaven making everyone laugh for days."
Ridgewood High School officials sent the two letters Wednesday evening — one to parents, another to students — encouraging open communication to anyone needing support. (Those letters are attached at right.)
"This shocking news affects the entire Ridgewood community. We encourage you to speak with your children about this news, and to listen carefully and answer questions honestly according to your own family beliefs," the district wrote to parents.
Students were encouraged to speak with their parents, as well as crisis counselors Lauren DePinto and Kevin Feeley, who would be will be available at Ridgewood High School in Room 115 on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., as well as Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If there is a need for assistance outside of these hours, the school advised students to contact Jeffrey Nyhuis at 201-670-2800 ext. 20502 or Basil Pizzuto at 201-670-2800 ext. 20503.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Nicholas Campanello. Please join us in keeping Nick’s family in your thoughts and prayers," the district wrote.