Craig Raposa was a student who "overcame obstacles" and "had a bright future," said Portsmouth High School Assistant Principal Jeff Goss.
The bright future was cut short Friday when 25-year-old Raposa of Tiverton was pronounced dead at Newport Hospital.
Goss, who once coached Raposa, said he was shocked when he heard the news.
"He was one of those kids that made you appreciate what you do," Goss said. "He struggled, but he rose. He made great strides."
Goss says Raposa had difficulty when he first began at Portsmouth High School, but overcome behavioral problems by the time he graduated in 2004.
"He started off where he shouldn't have, but finished strong and had a bright future," Goss said.
Police say Raposa "seemed to be experiencing psychological difficulties" during the incident at the Bay View Estates Friday. Raposa's mother told The Newport Daily News her son was "bipolar."
Raposa was a member of the junior varsity and varsity football teams. He also served as an aide for the Guidance Department.
Next to one of his yearbook photos is an anonymous quote he chose, "Life is what you make of it."
According to his MySpace page, Raposa was attending Bristol Community College and worked for a local landscape company.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Homes.
Calling hours will be held this Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Connor's Funeral Home on West Main Road. A Mass will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Barnabas Church.