Bronx teen drowns in upstate falls weeks before starting first semester at Cornell UniversityA Bronx teenager whose joyous, dream-fulfilling Ivy League college acceptance was captured on national television drowned in Ithaca just before he was set to start at Cornell University, officials said SundayWinston (Sammy) Perez-Ventura, 17, went swimming in Fall Creek near Ithaca Falls around 2:30 p.m. Saturday and never resurfaced, according to Ithaca police. First responders searched the waterways and gorges across the area, with state police divers and helicopters joining in. Troopers discovered Perez-Ventura’s body around 7:20 p.m. Saturday near where he drowned, police said.
The teen was in Ithaca for a freshman summer program as he prepared for his upcoming first semester at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.
“Cornell was always his dream from the very first day I met him,” said Danielle Leach, Perez-Ventura’s high school homeroom teacher and college counselor. “He handed me a little piece of paper that said, ‘Cornell is my first choice and I want to study architecture.’”
Perez-Ventura got the word of his acceptance in December, and his glee was captured in an ABC News video that went viral. In it, Perez-Ventura opens an early acceptance email and is hugged by a room full of ecstatic fellow high schoolers.
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