Humans of Harker: Crossroads and connections

From cross country to code, Aidan Lincke connects with others


Alena Suleiman

“I want to be remembered as someone in the community who is willing to talk with everybody, someone who connects with the underclassmen. Especially at cross country, I’ve made lots of friends, [from] freshman to seniors, and it was really awesome. I want to be remembered as someone who is open to everybody and is friends with everybody,” Aidan Lincke (12) said.

Gripping the edge of his frisbee, Aidan Lincke (12) bends his knees at a slight angle and curls his wrist inwards, preparing to throw the plastic disk. The moment he lets go, the frisbee soars into the air. To others, the height and straight trajectory of his throw may seem simple, but his effortless technique is one that took consecutive afternoons of practice. Aidan looks on and chuckles, admiring his throw.

For as long as he can remember, Aidan has loved being active. Whether it is playing frisbee in his spare time after school or running on the cross country team, Aidan enjoys dynamic activities that require him to be in the moment, participating and moving with other people. He recalls many of his fond memories from moments with his cross country team, ranging from supermarket snack excursions to simply running together during practice.

“I’ve been doing cross country since I was really little, but the friendships I made there are what makes it worthwhile,” Aidan said. “I made a lot of friends in cross country. The team is really fun and [cross country] is fun to do overall.”

Only in lockdown did Aidan realize how much he loved and missed in-person cross country meets. He laughs, remembering the time when cross country practice consisted of running alone while staying on a call.

“Going back to competitions this year has been really fun especially because last year, I don’t think I really appreciated meets that much,” Aidan said. “But then after remote mode, it feels so good to finally run against other schools again.”

Aidan shows his clear love for the sport by motivating not only himself but also others to improve. Saurav Tewari (12), one of Aidan’s closest friends, initially met Aidan on the middle school cross country team and appreciates Aidan’s positive energy and perseverance.

“[Aidan] really did push me to become a better runner,” Saurav said. “Sometimes, if I wasn’t having the best day and would be demotivated to run, he always pushed me to finish the race or practice on a good note.”

Aidan’s resolve serves him well not only in cross country but also in computer science with his willingness to learn newer, difficult elements and concepts in the field. Here, in coding, Aidan fostered his growth mindset attitude, pushing himself out of his comfort zone.

“I like computer science a lot, but in my first year [of robotics] I was stuck between either doing the software side [of] coding or design,” Aidan said. “Then I decided to go with learning something new and did computer-aided design (CAD), which is designing the robot. Learning CAD helped me in so many different areas because knowing it enabled [me] to go and do my own projects because I can 3D print whatever I design on those tools.”

With his love for engineering, Aidan spreads his knowledge to younger students interested in coding as well, serving as a mentor for VEX robotics, a fulfilling activity for both him and his mentees. He acknowledges the importance of serving as a good example for the middle schoolers, who view him and his fellow mentors with respect.

“It’s really gratifying to see those middle schoolers following our lead even though we don’t explicitly tell them what to do,” Aidan said. “I think it’s because they look up to us and want to match what the high schoolers do.”

Beyond mentorship, Aidan’s commitment to computer science reflects his resolve in expanding his horizon through subjects he is passionate about, as described by close friend Harrison Chang (12).

“I really admire his drive in pursuing his passions,” Harrison said. “For example, in CS, he spends a lot of his time outside of class to build and develop his knowledge, which I think speaks to how dedicated he is to anything he does.”

Aidan’s determination does not go unnoticed, both by his peers as well as his teachers. Upper school math teacher Anthony Silk appreciated Aidan’s bottomless positivity and immense growth in confidence in his AP Calculus BC class, despite the course being online for most of the year.

“He’s friendly, he’s open, he’s easygoing,” Silk said. “I have never seen [him] upset [or] frowning. He’s always happy-go-lucky. And bringing that out in the classroom, really, it made life better for him and made life better for the rest of the class.”

Silk believes that Aidan’s choice to have an optimistic outlook on situations, as well as willingness to listen to others’ opinions and ideas will serve him well beyond the classroom and in whatever career path he chooses.

“He will work really well with others [in the future],” Silk said. “He’ll be a great team member or team leader. I think people will respect him. I think he listens and responds.”

By working well with others, Aidan hopes to be known for his friendliness and openness to everyone in his community, no matter their grade level.

“I want to be remembered as someone in the community who is willing to talk with everybody, someone who connects with the underclassmen,” Aidan said. “Especially at cross country, I’ve made lots of friends, [from] freshmen to seniors. I want to be remembered as someone who is open to everybody and is friends with everybody.”