On July 14, 2002, St. Charles East High School and the St. Charles community lost one of its finest leaders. Seventeen-year-old Tyler Brett Caruso died unexpectedly of apparent cardiac arrest while spending the day at the beach with friends.

Tyler was a student leader who devoted countless hours to the betterment of his high school and community. He was poised to take his place as president of the Student Council Executive Board of St. Charles East High School for the 2002 – 2003 school year. Tyler was captain of the varsity football team, senior member of the audition-only STCE Jazz Workshop (2000 – 2002), director of various projects in H.O.P.E. (service organization to reduce at-risk behaviors in fellow students / 1999 – 2002), peer leadership advisor (PLA) in the select group of junior / senior leaders paired with freshmen to help them adjust to high school life (2001 – 2002), and board member of the
Downtown St. Charles Partnership (planning committee for the future of the City of St. Charles / 2001 – 2002). He was a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), Upstate Eight Academic All Conference, and ranked in the top 5% of his class. Tyler would have been a 2003 graduate of St. Charles East High School.

Helping others was a daily activity of Tyler’s. In addition to his involvement in the aforementioned organizations, he also actively participated in P.A.C. (Principal’s Advisory Council / 1999 – 2002), Class of 2003 (president in freshman and sophomore years), Student Council Executive Board (vice-president in junior year), D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education / 1999 – 2002), and Youth Coalition (board member who helped set the foundation for the establishment of the STC Underground teen center / 2000).

Tyler was an avid participant in the arts. He was selected to play in the STCE Wind Ensemble (2000 – 2002), in addition to his membership in the STCE Jazz Workshop. He had been a member in the St. Charles East High School Band (marching, concert, and pep), as well as the Haines Middle School Band (concert and jazz), and the Anderson Elementary School Band. His love for music carried far beyond his talent as an alto saxophonist.

Art had a special place in Tyler’s life. He used his talent to design numerous logos for school and community projects. Many of his designs can be seen on murals, T-shirts, and documents in our community.

Tyler’s dedication to athletics was evident even in his early years. As a six-year-old, Tyler participated in soccer and tae kwon do. He earned a black belt in tae kwon do at the age of eight. He qualified each year for national competition, winning multiple gold and silver medals. At the age of fourteen, Tyler retired from that sport when he entered middle school sports programs (basketball and football). Football became his most-loved sport and he excelled quickly to reach the position of starting middle linebacker. He was to be the defensive team captain of the St. Charles East varsity football team in his senior season (2002 – 2003). He was admired and respected by his fellow teammates. The team led the processional at Tyler’s funeral.

Tyler was a great humanitarian. He was a recipient of the St. Charles East High School Human Relations Award (recognition of efforts to promote, caring relationships among diverse groups in the school / 2000 – 2001 – 2002). He gave of himself unconditionally to others. He faced life’s challenges with a positive attitude and patience. He always had time to help anyone in need. He was “everybody’s best friend.” Tyler had many goals in life, but they all were based upon making our schools, community, and society better places to live and thrive.