Published: Aug 20, 2013 12:04 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 20, 2013 12:05 PM EDT

LABELLE, Fla. - More than 700 students made their way to the first day of classes at Labelle Middle school on Monday. But one student who wasn't in class was 12 year old Zach Reyna. Zach contracted a rare, but very dangerous, brain eating amoeba. While Zach was not physically in the hallways, he was in the hearts and minds of many at the school. On the school marquee, Zach's name and jersey number are a reminder to students and staff of the life or death struggle the young man is currently in.