Cornell-Bound Teen Drowns in Ithaca Falls Gorge

Perez-Ventura planned to study at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning

A Cornell University-bound teen from the Bronx, whose acceptance video to the Ivy League school went viral, drowned while swimming in the Ithaca Falls gorge, officials said.

Winston Samuel Perez-Ventura's body was found in the gorge by a New York State dive team Saturday evening, Ithaca police said. 

Perez-Ventura was in Ithaca for an on-campus pre-freshman summer program at Cornell, said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life. 

He drowned while swimming in Fall Creek, Lombardi said. 

"He was an exceptional person who would have contributed greatly to our university community," Lombardi said. 

Perez-Ventura planned to study at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Lombardi said.

In December, Ventura's high school, Democracy Prep Public Schools in Harlem, posted a video on Facebook of the senior, clad in a Cornell sweatshirt, reacting to his early acceptance. Cornell shared the video on its official Facebook page and it quickly went viral. Perez-Ventura would have been the first person in his family to attend college. 

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