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South Pasadena High School student leader dies after party

December 13, 2009 | 10:09 pm

A prominent student leader in the South Pasadena Unified School District died, possibly of an alcohol overdose, after attending a party Saturday night, district officials said.

Aydin Salek, who would have turned 18 Monday, was the student representative on the 4,000-student district board of trustees, as well as a student leader and writer for the newspaper at South Pasadena High School.

Details about his death, news of which spread through the community today, were not immediately available. South Pasadena police declined to provide any information other than to confirm they were investigating a death.

The South Pasadena High School website posted the news Sunday, saying, “According to the South Pasadena Police Department, Aydin’s death was presumed to be due to an alcohol overdose, not related to driving.”

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office also said it could not comment on the case.

Principal Janet Anderson said a police investigator told her that Salek had been at a party in Altadena before his death. There was a $5 cover charge at the party, district officials say.

Salek apparently had been drinking at the party, said school board President Richard Sonner. He appeared fine about 10 p.m. but passed out about 10:45, Sonner said.

Friends were trying to take him home when they realized that he had stopped breathing, Sonner said.
Another student was called to perform CPR and paramedics were summoned, Sonner said. Salek’s parents were present as paramedics tried to revive him, he said.

Anderson said Salek “was a wonderful young man, with a very promising future. He was tenacious when he saw something that needed follow-up.”

Salek joined the school board as its student representative in July, said former school board member Don Eggleston, who attended his last meeting last week. “He was very likable ... very energetic, very smart.”

Grief counselors will be at the school starting Monday, officials said.

“It was very clear he would be successful at whatever he chose,” Sonner said. “I find this a complete tragedy.”

--Rich Connell