A Richmond County high school student collapsed during a pageant practice at Paine College on Wednesday and was pronounced dead from natural causes at Georgia Regents Medical Center, according to Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten.
Fredricia Rouse, 17, a junior at Hephzibah High School, was standing in the college chapel when she collapsed. She was participating in the school’s Upward Bound program, a federally funded program that provides academic tutoring and mentoring to low-income high school students to prepare for college.
Tuten said there were no signs of violence and that an autopsy was being performed Thursday.
Paine College released a statement Thursday to mourn the death of the girl. Carol Rountree, the director of student services for Richmond County schools, said counselors met with students at the Hephzibah campus Thursday.