Former Wesleyan student presumed dead at Niagara Falls

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 10:08 AM

A man from High Point is presumed dead after jumping into the Niagara River and being swept over Niagara Falls on Saturday evening.
Houghton College, located in Houghton, N.Y., posted a statement on its web site identifying the man as 21-year-old Gregory Scott Young. Young was junior at the college and a 2010 graduate of Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point.
Young’s body has yet to be recovered. New York State Park Police are calling the jump a suspected suicide, after several witnesses called the police. Witnesses report they watched Young hop a fence, walk more than 100 yards and jump at the brink of the falls.
Park Police have been searching for the body since Saturday and are now changing the search to limited continuous, meaning that they will continue searching as new information develops. Officers said Young left behind some personal items, including his driver’s license.
Jordan Lessard, who graduated with Young from Wesleyan, said the young man was the senior chaplain for their school and had a way of making everybody feel important.
“He had a way of connecting with every group of people,” Lessard said. “Whether you were a bookworm or an athlete, he made a way of having a huge impact on your life. For me personally, he was a spiritual leader that I looked up to and that set an example for the entire school.”
Young was the perfect example what a Christian should be, Lessard said.
“He had the rare ability to walk his talk and he influenced everybody that he spoke to,” Lessard said. “I am deeply saddened and shocked by the events. Greg was a guy that was not only intellectual, but he had a terrific sense of humor. He was a unique leader. I am shocked that this happened and deeply saddened for him and his family.”
Students at Wesleyan Christian Academy received the news and rallied around the senior foreign exchange student that has been living with the Young family for the past five years, Josh. The teachers at the school discussed Young in their homeroom and each class prayed for Young and his family during the class devotionals.
“The students that remember Greg most would be the students in the senior class, they were freshmen when he was here,” said Tim Rickman, high school principal at the academy. “We met with the senior class and shared with them a little information, basically that his family has gone to New York and we need to pray for them. Our kids have really reached out to Josh within the past few days.”
Rickman said Young was a student at Wesleyan from kindergarten through 12th grade and was very involved in the school.
“He ran cross country, was a strong academic student and he was also part of a leadership group that was considered student council,” Rickman said. “He played in the band, and then he had a praise band that would sing at churches and youth groups. He was a very active young man here at our school.”
Rickman said the school will continue to pray for the Young family.
“At a time like this, there are just so many questions that will never be answered,” Rickman said. “This has been a sobering thought for the school, but because of our faith and the faith of our young people, it has caused us to realize the brevity of life and how important it is that we hold together during times like these.”
Houghton College posted a press release on their website stating that the missing person is believed to be Young.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the untimely loss to our community,” said Houghton College President Shirley Mullen. “Greg Young was an accomplished young scholar with a promising future in theological study. Our prayers are with his family and his many friends and colleagues in these difficult days.”
The school held a chapel for Young Tuesday and has offered counseling to students and staff at the school.
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Greg Young, a 21-year-old student from High Point, jumped to his death Saturday at Niagara Falls, according to a news release from his college.
Young's body has not been recovered yet.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the untimely loss to our community," said Houghton College President, Shirley Mullen. "Greg Young was an accomplished young scholar with a promising future in theological study. Our prayers are with his family and his many friends and colleagues in these difficult days."

Houghton College is located in Western New York state. Check back at www.hpe.com for upates on this story.