An evening to remember a Dunwoody High School student and cross country runner who died this week in Florida while on Spring Break will be held Sunday, April 9, at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. A memorial service is also slated for April 15.

Phineas Haq. (Special)

Phineas Haq, 17, a sophomore, died in what DHS Principal Tom McFerrin said was a “tragic accident” in Florida in a tweet posted Wednesday, April 5.

The DHS cross country team posted the evening of April 4 they were praying for Phineas:

On April 5, the cross country team also tweeted about the loss of Phineas:

Phineas Haq, center, with friends Sasha Herod, left, and Leighton Chen, at the Mercedes Marathon in February. The friends together decided to run in red, white and blue. (Special)

Dunwoody UMC announced April 6 it would people and students can come together to remember Phineas on April 9 and that a memorial service will be held April 15.

Dear Parents and Students,

We are all deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Phineas Haq. He was a beloved member of this Church and community, and many of us are at a loss for words. It has been particularly difficult in this time of grief because many of us have been in so many different places on spring break. That is why I think it is important for us to be together.

Sunday evening, April 9th, from 6:30-7:00pm we will come together in the Youth Area of Dunwoody United Methodist Church to remember Phineas.

A memorial service will be held in the Sanctuary of Dunwoody United Methodist Church on Saturday April 15, at 1 p.m. with a reception to follow in the Fellowship Hall.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Phineas Haq Memorial Fund at Dunwoody United Methodist Church.

Sasha Herod, 16, and also a sophomore at DHS, said Phineas’ mother emailed his mother on Monday, April 4, to tell them that Phineas was taken to a hospital after falling while running and that he was in critical condition. He died hours later.

“We don’t know [what happened] for sure,” he said. “He fell when he was running.”

Sasha said he and Phineas became close friends in 8th grade while he was a student at Peachtree Charter Middle School and Phineas attended Chamblee Middle School and they ran track together.

“He was always there, for anyone,” Sasha said. “He was the best guy.”

Sasha said he and Phineas and another friend, Leighton Chen, ran their first marathon — the Mercedes Marathon — together in Birmingham, Ala., in February.

“We connected through running,” Herod said in a phone interview from Destin, Fla., where he was visiting another friend following the news of Phineas’ death.

“We ran cross country and track … and we ran a marathon in February,” Sasha said. “We were [running] together the first 17 miles or so and then we traded back and forth. He was really supportive because it hurt. We got through it together.”

City Councilmember Terry Nall said in a statement he and residents of Dunwoody are keeping Phineas’ family in their prayers:

Our Dunwoody community mourns the loss of Phineas Haq, a beloved Dunwoody High School sophomore.

Each of our 50,000 residents represent an integral thread in the fabric we call “A Better Dunwoody.” Though now we are missing Phineas, his individual thread remains a valuable part of our fabric. His spirit lives on through the lives he touched and will not be forgotten.

The bond between schools and community is inseparable. Schools make communities and communities make schools. A loss for Dunwoody High School is a loss for our entire community. Unfortunately, this has been tested far too often over the last 12 months, but our support of the high school family remains as strong as ever.

May God’s comforting hand be with Phineas and upon his family and friends. We love you and support you.

McFerrin also posted on Twitter that it has “been a difficult 12 months” at DHS:

While McFerrin and Nall were not specific about the past 12 months, McFerrin also tweeted about the death earlier this month of DHS student Mauricio Oliveros in a car wreck on March 22.

A 2015 DHS graduate, Alexander “Ty” Flynn, died last May in an accident at the Pullman Train Yard. Last April, Halle Scott, a 2014 graduate of DHS, was one of four University of Georgia students killed in a car crash.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.