The medical examiner's office has identified the boy as Jorge Sosa from Chicago. He died after an afternoon swim with friends.
Grief counselors were at Jorge's Southwest Side school Wednesday to help classmates and staff deal with his death.
Jorge graduated eighth grade Monday night. He won an award, was crazy about soccer and got good grades at Tarkington School of Excellence in the Marquette Park community..
"I kinda feel bad about not going. I wish I could have went because I would have protected him from going out that deep," said Marzeek Williams, who was asked to join the boys but couldn't go. He said he's regretting his decision and remembering his friend.
"It's sad because he was a good person, somebody that did not deserve to die. He always had a smile on his face," said Williams.
"Nico said he went out in the water too far and he wasn't moving when they brought him back in from the water," said Joyce Morris, grandmother of one of the boys who was with Jorge in the water.
Friends say Jorge's mother passed away a few years ago, and he lived with his father and sisters.
"Jorge was here since we opened the school in 2005 seven years ago, and our hearts go out to the family," said Vincent Iturralde, principal, Tarkington School of Excellence. "It's a terrible, terrible loss."
"I'm gonna cry a lot. He was a great kid. He was really a great kid," said Morris.
Alfredo Lopez of Aurora said he will never forget the trip to the beach with his young children. As he watched the drama unfold, he snapped photos of the effort to save the 14-year-old.
"I got my kids, and I was kind of scared. They said, 'Everybody out of the water!' Oh my God. Everybody was scared," he said.
The boy had apparently gone to the beach with two friends. They alerted lifeguards after they lost sight of him.
"They were sitting here and reported someone, 'Oh, can so-and-so please report here? Your friends are looking for you.' And then two minutes later, like, 'Everybody out of the water, the beach is closed,'" said witness Lisa Carroll.
"There were two people out there trying to help them and the lifeguard jumped out of the boat and helped the two people pull him out of the water," said witness Nani Romero.
Lifeguards found Jorge about 30-50 yards offshore in the 60-degree water. Once on land, lifeguards and then fire department paramedics took turns giving him CPR. Paramedics placed the boy in a hypothermia bag to try to warm him up. They rushed him to Lurie Children's Hospital where he later died.
The boy is the 25th person to drown in the Great Lakes this year so far. According to an organization that tracks those numbers, that marks a 92-percent increase over the same time last year.