By Anna Young and Martin Wilbur
Quentin Lupo was a star athlete, a young man universally well-liked who was on the verge of making his final decision about which college to attend next fall.
There didn’t seem to be an inkling anything was wrong.
Last Wednesday, the 18-year-old Pleasantville High School senior apparently took his own life, police said. It appeared Lupo died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while staying at his father’s house in Greenburgh.
Greenburgh police responded to the home at 12 Beaver Hill Rd. at about 6:20 p.m. but have declined to answer further questions or provide additional details.
“It makes no sense and I think that’s what a lot of this community is feeling, it’s a tragedy and it doesn’t make sense because he’s somebody who had his life going in the direction he wanted it to, which makes it all the more difficult,” said Pleasantville boys’ varsity basketball coach Chris Welsh.
“I beat myself up over the things they tell you not to, should you have seen something, and no, he was a good kid, he was somebody who loved every minute he was playing basketball. There’s no explanation.”
Despite the tragedy having occurred during the spring break holiday, district officials opened Pleasantville High School last Thursday and Friday to provide counseling. On Friday, about a dozen parents and 70 students turned out, huddling in the gym and playing basketball together. Some cried, others stayed in groups comforting one another.
Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter, who had tears in her eyes as she hugged students and parents last Friday, supplied construction boards for kids to write their feelings and thoughts.
Fox-Alter also urged students that if they know of any friends and classmates having trouble coping with Lupo’s death to let school personnel know so they receive the care and attention they need.
Counselors were sent last Thursday to the house of a student who spent Lupo’s last day with him and dropped him off at his father’s house.
“He was out all day Wednesday playing basketball and making YouTube videos so we don’t know why this happened,” Fox-Alter said.
She said Quentin “was a bright shining student athlete, a star on our sectional championship varsity boys’ basketball team, a wonderful friend, great teammate, loving son and terrific brother.”
Lupo, listed as a 6-foot-4 forward, had overcome a broken hand suffered during his junior year to become the varsity team’s leading scorer this season, helping the Panthers to recently capture the Section 1, Class B title. He was recognized with All-Section and All-Conference honors and was recognized by other coaches in Class B throughout the state.
Athletic Director John Bauerlein said whatever spare time he had after school, Lupo would spend in the gym, working on his game and always trying to improve.
He said it would have been unlikely for the Panthers to win the sectional championship without him this season.
“Coach Welsh and a lot of coaches and myself saw how hard he worked,” Bauerlein said. “So to me, his success wasn’t much of a surprise, even though to the other schools it may have been because he really didn’t play much last year, if at all. So it was nice (for him) to get all sorts of accolades and be recognized by other coaches as a top player in Class B basketball.”
But Lupo wasn’t only a top athlete. He was described as extremely caring, a loving son and brother and a friend to many in the community. A statement by his family last week said he enjoyed working with children and was considering a career in education.
“Outside of his athletic achievements, Quentin had a passion for working with children, and aspired to be a teacher,” his family’s statement read. “He was a loving and protective older brother to Justin. Quiet in demeanor, he always had a kind word and the time to support others. Quentin will forever be missed by his loving family and friends.”
Lupo had yet to make his decision about where to attend college, but was strongly considering SUNY Fredonia, where he drew interest from the basketball coaches, Bauerlein said.
His next-door neighbor, Jon Lieb, whose family started a GoFundMe drive to help the parents pay for funeral expenses and start a college fund for Lupo’s younger brother, said younger kids looked up to him. He also had also been babysitter for the family.
“Quentin would be the type of kid who would have 10 kids following in his every move. This is a special, special kid,” Lieb said. “And he loved sports and we are big sports fans, we bonded over that and we attended many of his games. He was a fixture at our house and his brother Justin has been with us at every step of the way.”
Welsh said Pleasantville is still in shock over Lupo’s sudden passing. The past week has been emotionally draining, but it has helped that the entire community has rallied to be supportive of each other, he said.
“We have to honor his memory and celebrate his life, celebrate his accomplishments because he was such a great member of this community,” Welsh said.
A wake will be held Wednesday, Apr. 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Beecher Flooks Funeral Home in Pleasantville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, Apr. 20 at 10 a.m. at Holy Innocents Church, located at 431 Bedford Rd. in Pleasantville.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lucy Diaz with a notation “In Honor of Quentin Lupo #30” and given directly to the family.
Erin Maher contributed to this article.