Community grieves loss of student

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A BEAUTIFUL VOICE: Freshman Alexia Hyneman performs at a Grady Coffeehouse Feb. 11. She sang the song Think of Me from the Phantom of the Opera a few hours before her passing. The song’s lyrics remind students to remember Hyneman. “Think of me fondly, when we’ve said goodbye. Remember me once in a while. Please promise me you’ll try.”

Grace Hawkins

A BEAUTIFUL VOICE: Freshman Alexia Hyneman performs at a Grady Coffeehouse Feb. 11. She sang the song Think of Me from the Phantom of the Opera a few hours before her passing. The song’s lyrics remind students to remember Hyneman. “Think of me fondly, when we’ve said goodbye. Remember me once in a while. Please promise me you’ll try.”
A BEAUTIFUL VOICE: Freshman Alexia Hyneman performs at a Grady Coffeehouse Feb. 11. She sang the song Think of Me from the Phantom of the Opera a few hours before her passing. The song’s lyrics remind students to remember Hyneman. “Think of me fondly, when we’ve said goodbye. Remember me once in a while. Please promise me you’ll try.” Photo by Roshan Antia

Freshman Alex Hyneman’s confident alto voice filled the Black Box Theater the evening of Feb. 11. She wore a pair of horns atop her bright blue hair and a chainmail breastplate borrowed from a family member. She sang a duet by herself, flipping her hair back and forth as she switched between two characters.

The audience laughed at her impersonations and marveled at her wonderful voice. The song ended, and she stepped off of the stage. As she left Grady to bike home after the night’s event, she was hit by a vehicle at the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Drive and was fatally injured. She died at Grady Hospital on Feb. 12.
Hyneman’s friends and family honored her at the site of her death by building a memorial shrine at the site of the accident the day after her death. The bike she was riding was painted white and erected in view from the street, and stuffed animals, photos and flowers were placed nearby. Fallout Boy’s Centuries, one of Hyneman’s favorite songs, floated through the air at the memorial. The lyrics of the chorus rang clear: “Some legends are told/Some turn to dust or to gold/But you will remember me/Remember me for centuries.”
In homage to Hyneman’s eccentric tastes, love for fun and theatrical tendencies, her friends, classmates and peers painted cat whiskers on their faces on Feb 17. The Grady Book Club ordered 17 new science fiction and fantasy novels in memorial of Alex and her love for reading. At Hyneman’s funeral service, held on Feb. 17, hundreds of people came to grieve for the fallen teen.

The chapel was at full capacity and guests overflowed into two separate rooms of the funeral home to watch the service on a live television stream.

“I really don’t think I would have ever had enough time with her,” Hyneman’s mother, Marla Hyneman, said in her eulogy to her daughter. “There was something about her that brought a smile to everyone’s face.”

Friend after friend lined up to speak about Hyneman, telling stories of her fierce determination, fearless originality and her exceptional talent for singing and
writing. Together, Hyneman’s loved ones cried over their loss and smiled at the memories of her life that they shared.

“I think the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was walk into that funeral home and have to say goodbye,” Hyneman’s close friend Guianna Inoa-Nunez said.

From Hyneman’s involvement in theater and Book Club to her passion for writing and friendship, Hyneman was constantly living her life to the fullest.

“I got the sense that she saw a lot of opportunity at Grady for her to express who she was,” the Grady Book Club’s faculty advisor, Lisa Taft said. “She was very much in the moment.”

Hyneman’s family remembers and grieves for its caring sister and loving daughter.

“She was my pride, and I was so very proud of her,” Hyneman’s mother said.

The evening after Hyneman was buried, a candlelight vigil was hosted in the Grady courtyard. Students, parents and staff gathered around the flickering word “ALEX” spelled out with candles to speak about their memories of her and their grief for her loss.

“She brought so much to my life, [to] everybody’s lives,” Hyneman’s friend Sylvia Price said.

While Hyneman’s friends and classmates remembered her with love and endearment, the night air was heavy with the weight of a life cut short.

“There was always that hope in the back of our minds [while she was in the hospital] that she was going to come back,” Inoa-Nunez said. “We were going to be able to hug her and she was going to be fine. She was going to be reciting horrible poems and singing emo music for us.”

With the funeral and memorial services behind them, Hyneman’s friends and family are trying to move on from their loss.

“I’m glad I got to meet her and that all of us got to meet her and that she got to make our lives that much better,” Inoa-Nunez said.

Hyneman’s mother asks the Grady community to take her daughter’s death as a story of inspiration, rather than tragedy.

“The message today is not to go home and hug your kids a little tighter,” Hyneman’s mother said. “The message is to find hope and inspiration in the moments that you have with them.”

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