ELK GROVE (CBS13) – A UC Berkeley student died Sunday after falling three stories from a balcony near campus. Kimberly Tze graduated as valedictorian from Laguna Creek High School back in 2014.
“What an incredible loss,” said Alycia Soto, Head Counselor at Laguna Creek High School. “I’m just so deeply sorrowed.”
Teachers and students in Elk Grove mourned the loss of one of their own on Monday. Counselors talked to several students on campus as word spread about what happened in Berkeley over the weekend.
Tze, 21, was a junior at UC Berkeley majoring in Computer Science. Friends told police she was hanging out in an apartment late Saturday night when she fell three stories from a balcony. The railing was about three feet high and police are still trying to figure out what happened.
“We, as the Laguna Creek High School community, are so incredibly saddened by Kim’s passing,” the school said in a statement. “She was an ever joyful presence on our campus and a young woman who could help others see their potential and bring them out of any dark spot.”
“She came to my office and said, ‘Mrs. Soto, I’m valedictorian! I have to give a speech!’” Soto recounted.
Former teachers say Tze was humble, generous, smart, and dedicated to volunteering and helping younger students master math.
“And yet, you know, she had a ton of fun,” said Jeff Edom, band director at Laguna Creek High School. “When it was time to have fun, she was right there in the middle of it.”
Edom told CBS 13 Tze spent four years in the school band playing euphonium along with other instruments.
“It’s just hard to know exactly how to feel,” he said. “She knew exactly the direction she was headed.”
“The world has lost a remarkable person who was on her way to making a difference,” the school’s statement said.
Police still don’t know how or why Tze fell. But they say an autopsy will tell whether she had any drugs or alcohol in her system. According to a UC Berkeley spokesperson, Tze she was on track to graduate in 2018.