SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA -- Students, parents and friends gathered in front of Ramona High School Thursday evening for a student-organized candlelight vigil for Taylor Dorman, the 16-year-old sophomore who passed away Wednesday after being struck by a softball in the chest during P.E.
"Taylor was a really good friend... he was just one of those kids you could walk through a room and he would smile and the whole room would brighten up," said Laney Loftis, a classmate of Taylor's.
Loftis said the young Ramona High sophomore was always willing to cheer people up and was like "a big brother to everyone."
Shay Huntsman agreed, calling Taylor someone who could "light up the room."
"Taylor was like this big teddy that everyone can go hug," she said. "He's a really caring person... it's just really hard."
Sue Kohler, Taylor's mom, was in attendance at the vigil, where everyone was donning green—Taylor's favorite color—and expressed thankfulness for the support from his classmates.
"I think you all know Taylor was an amazing person... he was the kid that when he had to run laps around the baseball field, he had a big smile on his face," she told the large crowd of students that had lit candles in Taylor's memory. "And that's the way he lived his life. He loved his video games, he loved his family, he loved his friends."
Kohler spoke with the press afterward and confirmed that her husband had passed away two years prior due to heart failure. The single mother said that the Medical Examiner had confirmed that Taylor had an underlying health issue and that his heart was enlarged.
Students said they organized the vigil after speaking with counselors Thursday morning. They said the vigil was for remembrance, and a "celebration of his life" will be held Friday evening at Collier Park in honor of Taylor's 16th birthday—the same day the teen passed away.
Kohler said she got to take Taylor out for donuts the morning of his birthday before school.
The birthday celebration will be at 5 p.m. on April 12 at Collier Park.
This is the fourth death in a year that has affected the Ramona Unified School District. Last July, Ramona High grad Ryan Morgan was killed after a motorcycle accident, Olive Peirce Middle Schooler Chris Jaquez passed away in September 2012 and former RHS student Marley Pineda passed away in a car collision on Highway 78 last October.