I have somehow been blessed with friends who are so outstanding that they both amaze and humble me. Among them are true warriors for justice and compassion, leaders who make the world a better place. They are rarely content to simply exist, they make a genuine difference wherever they may go. One such person is Aimee Harriramani who is celebrating the achievement of a grand dream on this very day. This morning she will graduate from Baylor College of Medicine as a Physician’s Assistant. Her journey has been hard fought as she balanced family responsibilities and studies with her usual determination and aplomb.
I first met Aimee several years ago when I was working at Paul Revere Middle School. We had won a grant to fund an after school program for our students and we had been searching for someone to design and manage the staffing and activities. Our goal was to find a creative and dedicated individual who was student centered and didn’t mind working strange hours. We had already spoken with a few candidates who quite obviously saw the job as a part time gig that they would work into their already very busy schedules. Their enthusiasm levels were far from what we were hoping to find. Then along came Aimee, a graduate of Harvard University, whose very demeanor displayed her altruistic spirit and a kind of missionary zeal to change the world one young person at a time. She was captivating and the principal and I both realized as we interviewed her that we had not only found the perfect person but someone who was exceptional. I thought that our school had surely been blessed. Little did I realize that eventually Aimee would become one of the most important people in my life.
Nothing about Aimee Harriramani disappointed either me or the principal of our school. We both realized as she so willingly took on the responsibilities of the afternoon program that she always considered what was best for our students regardless of how much extra time and effort she had to expend. She took her job quite seriously. The love that she spread was inspirational and best of all she and I began a friendship that would slowly but surely deepen.
I left Paul Revere Middle School for another job and for a time I lost contact with Aimee. Somehow work and all of the other things associated with living kept us both so busy. Luckily for me and for the students at my new school the principal decided to create a unique position that he called the Activities Coordinator. When he asked if I knew of anyone who possessed the kinds of talents that he was seeking I immediately thought of Aimee and crossed my fingers in the hopes that she would be available. As luck would have it, she was indeed at a point in her life where she was searching for something different and so she and I were once again reunited at work.
Aimee’s efforts were stunning. She computerized the scheduling and attendance for the many clubs and organizations that our students participated in after the school day had ended. She also planned and executed all of our special events and programs including the end of year graduation ceremony. Even when people and things went awry as they are so wont to do Aimee maintained a steady composure and never lost her sweet and genuine smile. I so admired her. I watched her build wonderful relationships with the students and she was smart enough to train them to help her. I so loved having her right next door to my office. She was a steadying force in the sometimes chaotic world of school life.
Sadly for us but happily for her, Aimee became pregnant with her first child and decided that she wanted to focus on being a mom and so she left our school. She and a group of teachers and counselors had created a little social group for themselves that they called the Rainbow Coalition. They met regularly for dinners and family gatherings. Happily they decided that I too needed to be part of their little family of like minds and so I have been able to stay in touch with Aimee as her family grew and she began to consider a dream that had been evolving in her mind for a number of years. She told us that she had applied to several schools so that she might become a physicians assistant and as she crossed her fingers so did we.
I never had any doubt that Aimee would be chosen. I had interviewed her before and I knew that there is something charismatic about her. She stands out from her peers. She has a distinct aura that speaks to her wisdom and her overwhelming intellect and compassion. When she learned that Baylor College of Medicine wanted her for their program I was probably as ecstatic as she was. I understood that she would be a rockstar and that so many people would eventually benefit from her abilities.
For two and half years Aimee has traveled back and forth to the Medical Center to attend classes and medical rotations. She has studied on the bus and late in the night. She managed her time so that she was still able to be a loving mother and wife and always good friend. She remained ever calm even when her responsibilities felt overwhelming. I followed vicariously through the months and years of sacrifice that she so brilliantly and willingly maintained. Finally she saw the light at the end of the tunnel and she and her cohort of thirty nine other souls were ready to leave the classroom and graduate into a very much needed profession.
My thoughts and prayers and congratulations are very much with Aimee Harirramani on this day. I feel her joy right down to my bones because I have watched her taking one step after another to reach this point. Just as I did when I first met her so long ago, I know without hesitation that she will be incredibly successful because she is so uniquely suited for the work that she will be doing. For her this is a true vocation and the good Lord has blessed her with the personality, the intelligence, and the will to be a very special caregiver for the physicians and the patients whom she will encounter.
If I were able to choose the person that I would most want to be when I grow up it would have to be Aimee Harriramani. I both admire and love her and thank God that he introduced me to her. She will bring her devotion and her skills to an even larger group of people now and all of us will be the better for having encountered her. Best of luck, Aimee! Celebrate with abandon because you have most assuredly earned our respect and our joy. We are all bursting with happiness and pride for you!