Staff and students at St Patrick's Classical school in Navan have expressed their shock and sadness this week at the news that one of their students died fighting with anti-government rebels in Syria.
Sixteen year-old Shamseddin Gaidan, whose father Ibrahim Gaidan runs the Navan Novel Food Store at Brews Hill in the town, was killed over a week ago as fighting between the Assad regime and opposition forces intensified.
The school community was shocked and numbed at the news which broke late last week, and a prayer service was held for the popular Navan schoolboy on Friday morning.
Shamseddin moved to Ireland from Libya with his family in 2001. He had spent the school summer holidays last year in Libya and was due to fly back to Ireland in mid-August.
St Pat's principal Colm O Rourke said this week that Shamseddin had finished fifth year and had been due back last August to start sixth year and study for the Leaving Cert.
"He was a good student and a quiet, inoffensive, popular fellow - a pleasant young man. The circumstances are very tragic," said Mr O'Rourke.
"There are a lot of very sad people here in St Pat's at the moment. Shamseddin was popular with a good circle of friends. His classmates were very sorry he didn't come back and the news that he was killed has saddened everyone," the principal added.
The teenager joined the anti-Assad rebels in Syria last year without his parents' knowledge. His family are still unclear about the circumstances surrounding his death because of the difficulties of obtaining reliable information from inside the country.