Pine Knoll Shores Mayor Ken Jones said the body of 19-year-old Braxton Horton was found Sunday about 200 yards east from where he was last seen after going swimming with friends on a section of the town's beach.
Jones said first responders searched through the whole night looking for Horton, who was said to be an inexperienced swimmer.
Camp Sea Gull director Henry DeHart said Horton was in his first summer as a counselor.
School officials say Horton lived in Raleigh and graduated from Athens Drive High School. He just completed his first year at ECU. A biology professor described Horton as a very promising young student with a very good work ethic.
Meanwhile, former classmates are also remembered Horton fondly Monday evening.
"We had to come together one last time to show his family how big of an impact he was to everybody," said Sadie Catlett, Horton's high school classmate.
Friends say Horton was always helping others.
"He was what every mother would want her son to be," said Catlett.
The 2012 graduate made his mark in football, basketball and track and field, but excelled in the classroom as well. He was accepted into ECU last fall.
Horton, biology major, had just posted a 3.5 GPA this past semester.
Funeral arrangements for Horton are still incomplete.