NORTON SHORES, Mich. — A community is mourning after Western Michigan Christian High School student Alia Zuidema died Saturday after a medical emergency, according to school officials.
Alia was a freshman at WMC. She was an athlete who participated in cross country, basketball and soccer. She was also a choir member.
The WMC Sports Twitter page posted photos honoring Alia and said she died from an unexpected medical emergency.
A post on the school’s Facebook page is remembering Alia as an outstanding athlete and student who brought light to those around her.
“She was an absolute gift from God who used her many talents as a shining light for Christ in everything she did. She emerged as a leader, even as a freshman,” the post reads. “We remember the cross country runner who, as a freshman, ran hard at the MHSAA state final this year but always joked with teammates on long runs in the woods. The basketball player who had fun on the court while still being fiercely competitive. The soccer player who worked hard, scored goals, and still made her teammates laugh.”
Pastors and counselors were available at the school Monday to help students struggling with Alia’s death.
A candlelight vigil is being held Wednesday at the WMC Outdoor Athletic Facility at 8 p.m. to remember her.
“Alia had a great drive and a passion for everything she did because she lived on purpose. She lived by faith in Christ. That is where she drew her strength,” school officials wrote. “Although our school community is rocked and shaken, it is with that faith we are able to find strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”
Two visitations will be held Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and again from 6-8 p.m. at Sytsema Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held Friday at Second Christian Reformed Church at 2 p.m.