But 17-year-old Londell Byrd's dreams were cut short when he was shot to death by a fellow teen trying to settle a score.
Now police are searching for the killer.
"It's never gonna stop, but what keeps me going is remembering the smile he had," said JoAnn Soto, the boy's mother.
A remembered smile is the only thing left for a mother grieving the senseless murder of an only son.
Police say Byrd was gunned down two days ago, and a small memorial marks the spot just steps from the prep school students Soundview home.
"When they told him he was gonna make peace, he put out his hand and the guy just shot him, point blank," said Gwendolyn Rodriguez, the victims grandmother.
Police are looking for 18-year-old Jimmy Delgado identified by witnesses as the shooter.
Wanted posters are plastered around the neighborhood, near where he allegedly pretended to make up after a fight with the victim the day before, but instead opened fire.
"I would like to see him turn himself in. But he has to remember that he can't hide forever," adds Soto.
At Mount Saint Michael academy where Byrd was a graduating senior, guidance counselors were available for students wishing to talk about the death of their classmate.
Late this afternoon, several of those students arrived at Byrd's home to offer comfort to his distraught mother.
'We just want to show that we cared. To let everyone know that he's truly a blessing," said Dion Chasin.