Edgar Bozzi was an athlete and scholar with his sights set on college. He was excited about his senior year at Mainland Regional High School, applying to colleges and playing football.
“Every night after practice he came home talking about it,” his brother, Michael Bozzi, of Somers Point, said. “He couldn’t wait to get started.”
While some high schoolers spend their summers on the beach or playing video games, Edgar’s father, Frankie Bozzi, said the 17-year-old had a full schedule.
Football and track were a major part of his son’s life, Frankie Bozzi said, “They practiced every day, twice a day, beginning in June.”
Although he was outgoing, Frankie Bozzi said his son was always polite.
“Not one disrespectful word ever came out of his mouth,” he said.
Edgar had made honor roll every marking period, with a 4.16 grade-point average, he said. His son had already picked out a few colleges he wanted to apply to, and other colleges were “feeling him out.”
Frankie Bozzi said he had always taught his son that to be a winner, he had to surround himself with those who shared his ambition. Edgar, he said, had taken that lesson to heart.
“He didn’t drink or use drugs; and he didn’t hang out with anyone or talk to anyone that did,” he said.
Then there was his son’s job as a lifeguard at Gillian’s Island Water Park in Ocean City. Vick Kelsey, the park’s personnel director, said Edgar was a funny, easy-going guy. He worked there five or six days per week this summer, she said.
“As personnel director, people are afraid to come up and talk to me, but he was never like that at all,” she said. “He was was always joking around, never sad — I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kid upset.”
The past two days have been difficult for park staff, Kelsey said.
“It’s been a very, very hard day today trying to cope with this,” she said. “We miss him so much.”
Tashawn Simkins, a senior at Egg Harbor Township High School, said the deaths of Bozzi and his teammates have rattled students at the rival school.
Simkins, who ran track with Edgar Bozzi for a year at Mainland, called his friend a “track star.” NJRunners.com states Bozzi placed sixth in the 55-meter competition at the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association Sectional Championships in February.
But simkins said what he remembers the most is his friend’s humor.
Michael Bozzi described his brother as a “happy kid” who was always laughing.
“It’s terrible, awful,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure it out. I don’t even believe he’s gone.”
Staff Writer Caitlin Dineen contributed to this report.
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