Bishop McGuinness Student Athlete Remembered in School Vigil

The community gathered Wednesday for a candlelight vigil for 18-year-old Zach Tawwater.

Wednesday, July 10th 2024, 10:59 pm

By: News 9, Matt McCabe


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Friends, teachers and coaches of 18-year-old Zach Tawwater gathered on Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil.

He died on the Fourth of July in a drowning at Grand Lake. Recently, he had received an offer to play football at Dartmouth and was weeks away from the start of his senior year of high school.

Jake Brown, the head boys basketball coach at the school, said he had the privilege of coaching Tawwater and his older brother.

"I was just absolutely devastated," he said, speaking about the news of Tawwater's passing. "We ran the gauntlet of emotions. We break down. We cry."

Tawwater's coaches and faculty spoke on behalf of the school community, including reading a letter from his family thanking the Bishop McGuinness community for its support.

"There's nobody I know that changed the dynamic of a room the way Zach did," Brown said. "He's just such a great kid with a great heart, and a great soul."

Fr. Will Banowsky, who served as a chaplain at the school from 2021 through 2024, remembers first meeting Tawwater on the sideline of a football game his freshman year.

"You see him walking the hall, and there's that grin on his face," Banowsky said.

Banowsky shared his appreciation to the school for leaning on one another to process the grief following Tawwater's death.

"Most of the kids have known each other from elementary school to know, especially those who played sports," he said. "We have to keep our eyes and hope on God, but we also have to lean on each other."

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