Teachers and friends mourn Portland college student killed in Te - KPTV - FOX 12

Teachers and friends mourn Portland college student killed in Texas

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The Portland Ballet’s artistic director Nancy Davis called the Haruka Weiser, who began performing with the company in 2012, “gifted” and a “kind spirit.” (The Portland Ballet) The Portland Ballet’s artistic director Nancy Davis called the Haruka Weiser, who began performing with the company in 2012, “gifted” and a “kind spirit.” (The Portland Ballet)
ACMA Principal Michael Johnson and Dance Director Julane Stites recalled Haruka Weiser, who was killed at the University of Texas this week, saying their former student, “was a dancer in her soul.” (KPTV) ACMA Principal Michael Johnson and Dance Director Julane Stites recalled Haruka Weiser, who was killed at the University of Texas this week, saying their former student, “was a dancer in her soul.” (KPTV)
BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV) -

There were extra counselors at the Arts and Communications Magnet Academy in Beaverton Thursday, after the announcement of the death of recent alumnae Haruka Weiser.

It's a tough day for everyone at the school, where Weiser graduated just last spring.

Her friends and teachers knew she was reported missing Monday, but they hoped she would be found safe before hearing the heartbreaking news Thursday.

“We had known of her missing persons status,” ACMA principal Michael Johnson said. “24 hours ago this was a school holding its breath. Today, our exhale is filled with sadness and grief.”

Weiser's friends said they will remember her as a talented dancer and lovely person who was passionate about ballet and modern dance.

“She was intelligent, spirited and stunningly beautiful, and worked hard every day to realize her dreams,” Julane Stites, head of the ACMA dance department, said during a news conference.

That hard work was paying off for the Portland teenager, who earned a full ride scholarship to dance at the University of Texas, where she was a freshman.

Weiser's body was discovered in a creek on the Austin campus Tuesday morning. Thursday police said she was murdered.

At her former school in Beaverton, teachers and classmates were devastated. Weiser attended the ACMA for six years.

She was a member of the school's pre-professional dance company, and performed with the Oregon Symphony.

“It was evident from the start that she was a dancer in her soul,” Stites said.

Weiser also performed with the Portland Ballet, and the company’s artistic director Nancy Davis called the teen “gifted” and a “kind spirit.”

"Haruka was not only a gifted and talented dancer but a gentle and kind spirit that everyone at TPB loved, teachers and students alike. Our hearts go out to her family and friends."

The dance and theater major was planning to declare a second major in pre-medicine. While home for Christmas break she met with her ACMA dance director.

“I've never seen her happier. I had never seen her happier,” Stites recalled. “I think their family was extremely happy right now, from what I understand, and in a good place. So this comes, this is shocking, absolutely shocking.”

School officials in Beaverton are taking care of the students and each other, and are trying to follow the advice Principal Johnson gave the advanced dance students yesterday.

“To do what Haruka would want them to do, which is dance. And gradually they found the courage and stamina to pull together and do just that.”

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