Justin Andrew Rice

Justin Andrew Rice

A 17-year-old student died Saturday after choking while eating lunch Thursday at Franklin County High School.

Principal Dr. Roger Alsup said it is the first time in his 30-year career that a student has died from an on-campus incident in a school where he was an educator.

The student was identified as Justin Andrew Rice, 17, from Estill Springs.

Alsup said personnel followed the school system’s code of procedures to try to save Justin but were unable to do so.

Justin was taken to the Southern Tennessee Regional Health System hospital in Winchester then transferred to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville where he was pronounced dead on Saturday.

Alsup said the loss is difficult to bear.

“It’s been very painful for the Franklin County High School family,” he said. “It’s been hard for the teachers and students.

“It hurts when you lose somebody like this.”

Services are scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. in the chapel of Grant Funeral Services with Pastor Matt Hastings officiating. Interment will follow in the Rose Hill Memorial Gardens. Arrangements have been placed in the care of Grant Funeral Services, 103 Peters Road, Estill Springs, TN 37330. 931-649-3585.

Justin was born on July 14, 2003, in Brevard, Florida, and loved to attend school and was in the 11th grade at FCHS, according to his obituary that is in the March 18 edition of the Herald Chronicle.

Justin attended the Estill Springs Nazarene Church with his family and enjoyed horseback riding, dancing, basketball, baseball and swimming. He was also a John Cena fan.

He loved riding his bike in the back yard, going to Orlando and rodeos. Justin squeezed a lifetime of living into just 17 years. He was a huge fan of all superheroes.

Justin will be remembered for his love of adventure and living for his next adventure. He was known for his many costumes that he loved to wear and especially the ones of his superheroes.

Little did anyone know that he would become a real hero because Justin was able to save three lives by his gift of organ donation, according to his obituary.