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Memorial for Football Player Who Collapsed at Practice

Temoc Castellanos, 15, was running at Long Beach's Jordan High practice when he collapsed and later died. He was an honor student, expected to make Eagle Scout who mowed neighbors' lawns.

A Jordan High School football player who collapsed and later died of an undiagnosed heart defect was remembered by teammates in a candlelight vigil Tuesday night and will be honored with services this week, family friends said.

Temoc Castellanos, 15, was running on the Jordan track during junior varsity football practice after school at 2 p.m. Dec. 11 when he collapsed, said Long Beach Unified School District's spokesman Chris Eftychiou.

"The ... tenth grader was apparently in cardiac arrest, and school staff performed CPR until paramedics arrived and transported him to a local hospital," Eftychiou wrote in response to Patch questions. " We do not know what caused Temoc's sudden collapse.

"Unfortunately," Eftychiou added, "while he was in the hospital, Temoc died on the evening of Friday, Dec. 14. The Jordan community is deeply saddened by this loss, and our thoughts are with Temoc's family.  We have counselors available at Jordan for students as needed."

Tempoc was on the principal's honor roll at Jordan High and had earned the U.S. Boy Scouts of America achievement of Life Scout and the badges for Eagle Scout; he had only his final project remaining, said close family friend, Yolanda Veronica James, whose son is also in scouts.

James said Tuesday night that "there was a heart abnormality that the family did not know about until he collapsed." She was in communication with Temoc's father, who was contributing information for this story about his only child.

"They are proud, but devastated due to the unimaginable," said James of Temoc's parents, Mario and Mercedes Castellanos. 

The district's Eftychiou said Temoc had attended Grant Elementary School from grades two through five, and Hughes Middle School from grades six through eight.  He had attended Jordan High School since ninth grade.

Family friend James said Temoc "was on the Principal's Honor Roll, always maintaining a 3.5 (G.P.A.) or better." He had a dog named Comet, which is Temoc spelled backwards. "Of course the dog was named after Temoc and not the other way around," she said, adding that Temoc was a family name.

A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night at Temoc's parents' house in North Long Beach, attended by what James estimated to be 75 or 80 players. Some details about Temoc that were shared by family and classmates:

His favorite food was spaghetti. He played on defense for the JV team.  His favorite things to do were to play on his gaming systems -  particularly X-Box and the Wii. Tomac was born at Los Alamitos Medical Center on Nov. 11, 1997. His favorite colors were blue and yellow. Close family friend Yolanda James went on:

"Temoc was interesting in that he reminded me of an old spirit.  You could not get kids today to listen to oldies but Temoc did, with his favorite band being the Rolling Stones and music from the 50's & 60's. His favorite cars included the 67/68 Mustang.

"His favorite vacations were to Mexico City to visit relatives and to go to the beaches and swimming pools.  He liked to help out the neighbors and when they would go on vacation, he would surprise them by mowing their lawns and cleaning around their houses."

The family provided the following plans for Tomac's services:

The viewing is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday night at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, 14815 S. Paramount Blvd., Paramount, CA. 90723. 

The funeral/mass is from 9 a.m. to 11a.m. Thursday, December 20th at the same parish as above. The internment following will be at Inglewood Park Cemetery, with repast at Temoc's family home.

 "So many times we hear about the troubling stuff with teens, particularly minorities, and we just want his life highlighted," said James. She said Temoc was a good kid, and they often go uncelebrated in the everyday rain of bad news.

Terri L. Brunette December 19, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I am so very sorry for the loss of this young man! My condolences & prayers go out to his family & friends. It is a tragedy. God bless you all during this incredibly difficult time. What a memorable, memorable young man! You raised a remarkable son! Terri
Nancy Wride (Editor) December 19, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Here here. Someone I wish that I knew.
Glenn Johnson December 19, 2012 at 09:56 PM
As Temoc's Scoutmaster, no leader of youth could have had a better Scout. He would do anything and everything asked of him. He was an avid backpacker with our backpacking core unit. He never missed one outing. His leadership to our troop was invaluable. He made every camporee and every court of honor, except this last one, the day of his falling. Four days prior, when many youth kick back on a weekend, he and his fellow scouts were at Bethany Lutheran working on a church project. His humble and respectful spirit will burn in all of us forever. A troop remembrance gathering will be held in January to celebrate one of God's greatest creations. Glenn Johnson, Scoutmaster, Troop 75, Bethany Lutheran, Long Beach.
Mary Lang December 20, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Temoc was a joy to teach! He was terrific at math, but his citizenship and character were the qualities that set him apart! HIs Boy Scout foundation, as well as the qualities instilled by his parents, showed up everyday in our classroom. He worked diligently toward his own goals, and was the first to help out a classmate who needed some help or encouragement. I am struggling with this loss of someone so wonderful, so young, and am just glad to have taught him and enjoyed him for one year. My heartfelt love to his parents - you raised a wonderful young man and I can only hope you are comforted by sweet memories and God's care. Mary Lang - 6th Grade Math
Jarred Cuellar December 20, 2012 at 08:44 AM
I was a member of Temoc's Boy Scout troop, I am four years older, but I remember that this young man was always smiling and loving life. He was a dear friend to my younger brother as they were both avid backpackers who often decided to sleep under the stars rather than use a tent He was a great scout and will be greatly missed, but one must remember that he is now with The Lord and in a much better place. - Jarred Cuellar
Nancy Wride (Editor) December 20, 2012 at 09:16 AM
Will some of you share with me how the services go?
Glenn Johnson December 25, 2012 at 04:13 AM
The services were just wonderful and very touching. I was asked to speak at the rosary on Thursday night. It was a very difficult time for all of us. I was so shocked and filled with pride when I passed by his casket on my way to the podium. He was dressed in his Scout Class A uniform (and holding what looked like his football jersey). He even had a pen in his shirt pocket. He was always "prepared". One never knows the impact that an organization has on a young man and his family. The funeral the next day was very touching. His parents are such wonderful people and were very strong. We all took the message to our soul and felt the warmth of God.

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