WHEN Noah Simmons was just 13 years old, he walked on to the compound of the Shiva Boys’ Hindu College in Penal alone and requested to speak with the principal.

Already a tall, handsome young man with grey eyes, Noah made a stirring plea to principal Dexter Sackal to allow him to transfer to the school.

He was then a Form Two student at the Marabella South Secondary.

Sackal was immediately impressed with his courage and within a few weeks, Noah was enrolled in Shiva Boys’.

During his time there, Sackal said he made an impact on his classmates and the members of school’s football team of which he was a valuable asset.

“He appeared at the gates one day and asked to attend this school,” Sackal told Newsday yesterday.

“He was by himself that day and I was so impressed by his courage to come out and ask to be transferred that I felt I had to help him.

“He was always a pleasant boy, a bit talkative in class but generally good-natured, and he was liked by everyone.”

Noah was a part of the school’s Under 14 team in 2016 when they took home the championship title.

Sackal said the photo of the triumphant team posing which hangs in his office, always brought a smile to Noah’s face.

“I think the biggest reason he wanted to come to this school was to play football, he really loved it and he was extremely talented. Whenever he would come into my office and see the picture of the team, it always made him proud.”

Sackal said he knew that despite all Noah’s talents, he was a child at risk because of the community he came from.

“In retrospect, we helped him as much as we could but I still think we didn’t do enough for him. I knew he came from a community where he was at risk but his death still came as a shock to all of us.”

Noah was shot dead at cousin’s home at Marabella on Tuesday – the day he turned 16 – by a man who warned him to stop speaking to a girl in the community.

Sackal said the Ministry of Education had sent its Student Support Services counsellors to speak to Noah’s classmates and team-mates.

He said the team still has to discuss what will be done to honour him. Noah’s mentor at the Marabella Family Crisis Centre, chief executive officer Terrence Bossiere told Newsday the centre’s football team plans to launch a “Noah Cup”, a game in the youngster’s honour.

Bossiere said he knew Noah from birth and described him as a gem.

“He was a fun-loving young man, he had his dreams and aspirations and it was all swiped away at an unfortunate moment. The whole community is feeling my sorrow. He was supposed to come by me that morning when I got the news and I went up there and saw him. It was not a good sight at all.”

“I wish…I am at a loss for words – I would have like to see Noah continue. I had high hopes for him, he was really an exceptional boy.”

One of Noah’s relatives said his funeral has been scheduled for Saturday at Guide’s Funeral Home in Couva at 3pm. He will be buried at the Marabella cemetery.