Friend says high school senior was "much too young to die" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Friend says high school senior was "much too young to die"

by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Classes were canceled Wednesday at Cedar Valley Christian School, but students came to mourn the loss of their classmate, Tyler Toll. Among them, Michael Pratt, who got to know Tyler in the last few years while working with him in the school's drama department.

Monday night, Michael Pratt sat by Tyler Toll at a Cedar Valley Christian basketball game. Twelve hours later, his friend was gone.

"Tyler was a funny guy," said Pratt. "I mean, I've known him for three or four years now and I can only recall two or three times where he was not smiling or laughing. His smile was just so infectious. He was a great guy."

Despite being four years younger, Michael says Tyler always treated him like one of his peers.

"It meant a lot to me," said Pratt. "I may have only seen him the rest of the semester and I may never have seen him again, but I really wish that we had that time back because he taught me so much about everything."

The freshman and senior got to know each other while working together behind the scenes in Cedar Valley Christian theater productions.

"Besides our drama director Miss Cline, he was the heart and soul of our drama department," said Pratt.

Many other friends have shared feelings about Tyler on a Facebook group created in his memory. As of 3:00 Wednesday, more than 260 people had joined.

"When you first hear that he has died you are very sad, but then you realize that he had so many friends that cared for him and so many family members that cared for him," said Pratt.

But that doesn't make it easier for Michael to accept what happened.

"He was a great guy and he was much too young to die," said Pratt.

Tyler had just begun work on the set design for the upcoming production of "Hunchback of Notre Dame" at the school. When the curtain goes up on opening night in March, Michael says it will no doubt be an emotional night for everyone involved.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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