Nicole Smith says she's still in disbelief her 16-year-old son is gone.
"I feel like it's a bad dream," Smith said. "I'm waiting for my son to wake up but that won't happen."
Savon Smith, a student at Lindblom Math and Science Academy High School in Chicago, died this week from a "non-contagious form of bacterial meningitis," according to the Medical Examiner's Office.
Nicole Smith said she tried waking her son up for school Monday morning but he was unresponsive. She said he wasn't his normal self all weekend and was lethargic with less of an appetite. She also said he complained of headaches since Saturday.
"He said it was quite severe but I didn't know how severe, but they were pretty bad," Smith said.
Chicago Public Schools said there is no immediate health risk to students or faculty at Lindblom, but as a precaution the high school was closed Wednesday for cleaning.
Savon Smith's principal recalls he and the teen were joking in the hall together just last week.
"He was full of life and energy," Alan Mather said. "He's a very bright young man but also had a playful streak."
Smith describes her son as outgoing and loving who "loved life to the fullest."
"He loved music, he loved martial arts," she said. "He was taking Mandarin and he spoke it well. My son was so very outgoing."
Parents were told to watch for primary symptoms including fever, headache or stiff neck and possibly nausea or vomiting. Nicole Smith said she had no idea to look out for such symptoms.
"That was the furthest from my mind," she said. "Not in a million years would I have thought to look for the signs for that."
"Just be aware," she said. "I didn't know the signs of meningitis."
Lindblom is expected to reopen Thursday.