Humans of Harker: Innings and innovation

In baseball and coding, Aaron Lo strives for success


Selina Xu

“What drives me mostly is the pursuit of doing it well. I don’t like things being done badly, if I can help it. Some of it is just enjoyment, like game development or reading about Rome. I enjoy every moment I spend on it. For other stuff, it’s more of a sense of accomplishment. In baseball and coding, I strive to do the best I can do, because I can,” Aaron Lo (’22) said.


Aaron Lo (’22) recalls one of his most memorable moments playing baseball, during a game he played in middle school: the ball soaring through the air, the players watching in anticipation, his coach on the sidelines.

Among the multitude of accomplishments high schoolers achieve, a Grand Slam — a home run hit with all three bases occupied by baserunners — is not common. It scores four runs and requires speed, precise aim and in some cases, pure luck. Few high school baseball players have hit one. But Aaron has, almost.

“I stopped at third base, even though I probably could have made it home, and my friend Chirag [Kaushik (’22)] hasn’t let that go for a long time,” Aaron said.

Aaron began his baseball journey as a kindergartener playing in Little League Tee Ball. As a senior and the second baseman of the varsity boys baseball team, he reflects on his journey over the years.

“[Baseball] is a lot of hard work,” Aaron said. “And of course, everything is. Over time, there’s been a lot of unsuccessful moments that motivated me to do more. It changes over the years, but there have been periods where I just can’t hit the ball and strike out on everything. It takes a lot of work to find out what’s going wrong and to improve it.”

One such instance occurred in middle school, when he felt particularly frustrated at his performance. Rather than giving into this frustration, Aaron dedicated long hours toward improving his form on the field, effort that ultimately paid off at his next game.

“I was going through a phase where I couldn’t hit the ball, and even if I did hit the ball, it popped straight up and [got] caught as a fly out,” Aaron said. “So I spent a lot of time working through my hitting form and going to the batting cage, and finally, when I got it all down in the game, I hit a double.”

Aaron’s tireless dedication also appears in his programming work. From excelling in his academic classes to experimenting with game development on his own, he never shies away from a challenge.

Aaron’s interest in programming stemmed from freshman year, when his friends encouraged him to take AP Computer Science with Data Structures. From there, his fascination with coding led him to pursue the subject further through personal projects as well as competitions. Upper school computer science teacher Anu Datar noticed Aaron’s efforts in class from early on in his programming career.

“[Aaron] had dedication and [a] passion for computer science, and he was willing to put in effort and time,” Datar said. “He took the additional effort to go well beyond the expectation. Aaron is definitely one of the few who likes to take that challenge on and explore and implement things.”

While others considered the fast-paced course daunting, Aaron saw challenging assignments as opportunities for self-exploration, often working late into the night to enhance his labs and projects.

During his freshman year, for example, Aaron and Chirag coded a replica of the popular battle royale game in Java. They dedicated two weeks of their time to the project, but the end result was rewarding: a near-perfect replica of the video game, complete with additional features and enhancements, which their classmates thoroughly enjoyed.

“When you finally finish the program and it runs beautifully, after all that time you spent bug hunting, it’s really nice,” Aaron said. “The whole subject is very interesting. How you can translate from one programming language to the next, all of the background on that is very fun.”

Since then, Aaron has worked on many projects varying in difficulty and purpose, and he hopes to continue programming as a hobby in the future. Close friend of ten years Brandon Park (’22) admires Aaron’s creative problem-solving.

“One of Aaron’s biggest strengths is [that] he’s very clever,” Brandon said. “He always thinks of interesting and out-of-the-box solutions to problems that I personally would never have thought of.”

Aaron’s love for exploration isn’t limited to coding. When he’s not on the field running drills or working on his latest project, one can find him poring over Roman history books such as Suetonius’ “Twelve Caesars,” a series of biographies about Julius Caesar and the other first 11 Roman emperors. Aaron remarked that while most people tend to enjoy the mythological aspects of Roman history, he feels more drawn toward the concrete narrative.

“I really like the period between the Roman Republic and Empire,” Aaron said. “A lot of things are happening concurrently, which build up to the Republic dying and being replaced by the Empire.”

As dedicated as he is to his personal pursuits, Aaron also enjoys uplifting those around him, constantly cracking jokes and having fun with his friends. Brandon vividly remembers the first time he met Aaron at a Harker summer camp, when he threw his swimsuit on the roof and promptly got in trouble with the staff.

“Obviously from that experience [I thought] he was a bit of a troublemaker,” Brandon said. “I still think he is a bit goofy. But beyond that, he’s awesome. He cracks a lot of jokes — particularly unfunny jokes, but he commits to them. He’s a great guy to be around.”

Close friend Michael Tran (’22), who has known Aaron since third grade, comments on his ability to have fun while simultaneously working with focus.

“On the surface, [Aaron] comes off as a little bit quiet and maybe not always open to sharing stuff, but I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him,” Michael said. “We chase each other around campus and have fun and that’s part of him. But not only that, he’s a very smart guy and when he puts his mind to something, he can really get it done. To me, he’s a really driven, outspoken guy who’s just fun to be around.”

Throughout high school, Aaron has continued to branch out and challenge himself to try new things, even if they are unrelated to his interests.

“I noticed that as [Aaron] grew older, he was willing to put himself out of his comfort zone and try new things,” Datar said. “So [he would be] trying to explore areas that he felt he was lacking in, recognizing what he needed to work on and then doing it.”

Whether he does it purely for pleasure or a sense of accomplishment, Aaron strives to do the best he possibly can in all of his pursuits. The basis of his motivation is simple: he knows his potential.

“What drives me mostly is the pursuit of doing things well,” Aaron said. “I don’t like things being done badly, if I can help it. Some of it is just enjoyment — [with] game development or reading about Rome, I enjoy every moment I spend on it. For other stuff, it’s more of a sense of accomplishment. In baseball and coding, I strive to do the best I can do because I can.”