Tonight my heart is happy. My beloved writing student, Aaron Shahmaram, called me today to let me know that he just received his acceptance letter to Loyola Law School here in Los Angeles. Yes!
Aaron and I go way back. I first met him as an awkward middle schooler who came to me for help with writing. He was shy and nervous when he met me and was worried about not writing fast enough in class when he had to write in-class essays. We agreed to work on that and on organizing what he had to say, We started meeting weekly.
It wasn’t long before I knew Aaron was special. We read The Chosen by Chaim Potok together since he was reading it in school and needed help for essays he would be writing in class. As we read the story of two Jewish boys in Brooklyn, one going to a modern Orthodox school and the other attending an ultra-orthodox Hasidic yeshiva, I had the chance to get to know Aaron much better. As an Iranian Jew, he related to the book deeply and had a much more sophisticated thought-process than the average middle schooler. I was impressed with not just his ability to analyze, but also his deep sensitivity. I also learned a lot about Judaism from him as he explained the nuances between Orthodox versus Ultra-Orthodox Jews. I knew right then there was much more to this shy boy than one might guess.
That was the beginning of what has become a long and very sweet friendship. Aaron and I have worked together for years now and know each other very well. I was especially proud of him when he graduated with honors from UCLA and even more proud when I received his call this afternoon. His discerning mind will be perfect for a career in Law and the world will be a better place with him in a role as an attorney. He is one of the most decent human beings I know and I am so pleased for him. He has stretched and grown over these years and has become an accomplished young man. Aw, that thought makes me tear up a bit, I will admit. How lucky I am to have someone as special as Aaron in my life.
Congratulations, Aaron! I am so proud of you, my dear. Hip, hip, hooray!