Aaron is a member of Franklin Academy’s class of 2018. His parents, Cynthia and Dan, were originally impressed by our school because the Admissions Office focused on Aaron’s passion for mathematics rather than fussing about shortcomings. Indeed, the family met early on with Amy Bigelow to talk about math education at our school. Four years later, Aaron graduated with an honors diploma in mathematics. I asked Amy to rank Aaron’s ability in mathematics for me. She succinctly responded: “Once in a generation.”
Aaron matriculated at Haverford College, one of our leading liberal arts colleges. However, he continued to pursue the personal goal of going to school in England, which he achieved after his sophomore year when he enrolled at Jesus College, a constituent college at the University of Cambridge, which many consider one of the top universities in the world. How has Aaron been doing? Here is an update from his mother.
I visited Aaron a few weeks ago. He’s a happy person, learning lots of math and making friends. He has found a home with the Jewish Society of Cambridge which has been welcoming socially. (The smaller group of Jewish students within Jesus College call themselves Jews for Jesus.) He will finish his undergraduate degree this year, then will find out days before graduation whether he is invited to stay for a master’s degree. If he does, he has to wait another year to walk in a graduation ceremony and to kneel before the master of Jesus College while holding her finger. These Brits like their feudal customs.
The picture is from a great tradition called formal dinner. The woman in between Aaron and me is a geography professor I met in 2017 in a pub when I took Aaron for his first interview. She and Aaron are wearing academic robes. Professor Emma is exceedingly friendly and inquisitive, so she learned much about Aaron in that pub. She has taken an interest in him ever since. During the formal dinner, I mentioned to this professor the math teacher who altered Aaron’s life. On cue, he launched the speech he makes at the mention of Amy. It begins, “Amy made everything possible.” You should brag about Aaron. Every one of you made it all possible. It also shows that a special needs school enables and does not obstruct, as some parents fear, the path to fulfilling whatever is right for the individual. With overwhelming gratitude and relief, Cynthia.
Cynthia, I share your gratitude. For me, no work in education is better than the opportunity to serve our remarkable students at Franklin Academy.