FAU High Students Miss Two Commencements Due to COVID-19
High school students around the world have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in ways they’ve never dreamed possible. Their special senior moments have all been taken away with almost no hope of them ever taking place. Their senior proms have been canceled. Their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put on their high school cap and gown to walk across that stage to receive their diploma have now been reduced to a virtual ceremony from their own homes, if they’re lucky to have that option.
But for three FAU High School students, all of this hard work and these special moments have been impacted even more dramatically. Not only will they be missing out on their high school graduation, they also will be missing out on their Florida Atlantic University commencement to receive their college degree. At the young age of 17, Riley Reyes, along with Mariam Aamir and Aaron Haim, both 18, will receive their high school diploma and college degree in the same week.
“These students have let nothing stand in the way of achieving their goals,” said Sherry Bees, principal/director of A.D. Henderson University School and FAU High. “I know each one of them will have a positive impact on the world and in their communities.”
Mariam Aamir, 18, will receive a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a minor in psychology from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. She is a first-generation graduate with a goal of becoming the first person in her family to attend medical school and become a doctor. Aamir’s research focused on Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that mainly affects the nervous system. She recently studied the genetic causing factors of this syndrome in order to find a reversible method, something that has never been focused on before.
When she is not volunteering in patient care at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Aamir enjoys photography. She is also the president of FAU High’s Student Government Association and was the officer of marketing and communications for the American Medical Student Association. She hopes to take her experiences and what she has learned in order to make a positive change on a larger scale and to inspire those around her to do the same.
Aaron Haim, 18, will receive a dual bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and computer science from FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Haim has already been accepted into a Ph.D. program for computer science, which he will begin in the fall at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. He hopes to continue mastering the field of computer science and is excited about everything it has to offer. Haim is the president of FAU’s Math Club and in his spare time, enjoys reading and playing the piano. He is also involved in FAU High’s Mu Alpha Theta, academic games, Science Olympiad, math ambassadors and band club.
Riley Reyes, 17, is one of FAU’s youngest graduates this semester. He will receive a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and behavior from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, with plans to return to FAU to earn a second bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. And Reyes’ ultimate goal – to attend medical school and become a doctor. When he’s not volunteering in patient transport at Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Trustbridge hospice care, Reyes enjoys playing the piano. He is also involved in FAU’s Peer Mentor Program and Eat for Tomorrow, a group that grows crops to donate to local organizations.
The highly selective program at FAU High serves as a dual-enrollment prototype. Students spend their ninth-grade year in a high school classroom taking advanced coursework. This prepares them for grades 10-12, where all classes are collegiate courses taken at Florida Atlantic University for both high school and college credit.