NEW MILFORD — A high school senior was laid to rest Monday after drowning in a pond Friday night.
New Milford police said they were called about 7:15 p.m. on a report that an 18-year-old man who did not resurface after going into the Hardcastle Pond.
His body was recovered around 10 p.m. by one of the several water search and rescue teams that responded.
A resident of the neighboring Dorchester Manor Apartments told NorthJersey.com he saw Clinten Ajit go into the pond to retrieve a soccer ball for some kids.
A planned out future
A GoFundMe page identified the victim as a New Milford High School senior who was planning to study criminal justice at Montclair State University.
Ajit moved to the United States from India with his parents in 2012, according to the GoFundMe page.
"He enjoyed participating in musical theater, band, and various sports. Clinten was an intelligent, humorous, and kind young man," organizer Gabriella George wrote.
Ajit's funeral was held Monday at St. Peter's Mar Thoma Church in Washington Township, Bergen County. Members of the band played during the funeral and his wake service on Sunday.
"Sometimes the very last thing one says or one does is a testament to who they really are. I believe his last actions were simply to help, to serve, and to do what he could for someone else," the Rev. Jaisen A. Thomas said during Clinten's funeral.
"His love, his memory and his character will leave a lasting legacy. A model for all of us and especially for the family."
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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.
Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.
If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.
You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.
Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: