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Sonoma teen dies in apparent drowning in Nicaragua

Sonoma Valley High School senior Brandon Barmore with a Nicaraguan student in a photo taken during the Seeds of Learning service trip last week. (Submitted)

LORNA SHERIDAN,

Tragedy struck on the final day of a week-long youth service trip to Nicaragua last week, when Sonoma Valley High School senior Brandon Barmore, 17, drowned in a volcano swimming lagoon. A dozen classmates, two Sonoma Valley Rotary Club members, and trip leaders from the Sonoma-based nonprofit Seeds of Learning were with Barmore and tried to revive him. He died at an area hospital on Sunday, March 26. His family in Sonoma was informed that day.

Sonoma Valley High School students were on spring break during the service trip, but school is back in session this week. On Wednesday, March 29, grief counselors and six therapy dogs were on campus for students and staff. A short letter from Principal Kathleen Hawing was sent to school families on Wednesday informing them of the tragedy.

Seeds of Learning is a nonprofit organization that brings youth volunteers to Nicaragua and El Salvador to build and equip schools. Sonoma Valley students have participated in SOL trips for more than a decade and typically fill the work volunteer spots on two trips each year, one in March and one in June.

More details to follow.