The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Humans of Harker: Aiming for amiability

Sriram Bhimaraju shares his kindness
%E2%80%9CI+want+to+be+remembered+as+the+person+who+was+really+easy+for+everyone+to+talk+to.+Thats+something+I+pride+myself+on.+I+like+to+make+a+lot+of+friends%2C+and+I+want+to+be+seen+as+someone+who+is+super+approachable%2C+no+matter+what+class+or+activities+youre+in.+I+want+to+be+a+potential+friend+for+everyone%2C+Sriram+Bhimaraju+%2812%29+said.
Charlize Wang
“I want to be remembered as the person who was really easy for everyone to talk to. That’s something I pride myself on. I like to make a lot of friends, and I want to be seen as someone who is super approachable, no matter what class or activities you’re in. I want to be a potential friend for everyone,” Sriram Bhimaraju (12) said.

Jimmy Fallon’s voice fills the crowded theater as he announces the next segment of “Fallonventions” on a 2019 episode of “The Tonight Show.” From behind the red curtains of the stage, eighth-grade Sriram Bhimaraju (12) takes a tentative step forward, revealing himself to the curious audience. Upon hearing their roaring applause and cheers, he enters the stage with the air of a seasoned performer, ready to present his Archery Assistant invention — a device that helps with archers’ aim and form, and that brought him to one of the most watched late night shows in America. 

Sriram’s appearance on “The Tonight Show” served as a culmination of his diverse interests: archery, science and performing arts. Among his many talents, archery holds a special place in his heart. Named after the Hindu God of Archery, Rama, Sriram grew up with an inherent passion for the bow and arrow. He first took interest in the sport at a young age and often crafted bows from fallen branches in his backyard. Now, he often finds himself back at the range, with a bow and arrow in hand and his worries far behind. 

“Archery is something I use as a break to detach myself from everything else that’s going on,” Sriram said. “It’s a very cathartic sport for me, so I enjoy it that way. With archery, it’s really just about you and what you can do, so it’s a really good chance to separate yourself from everything else. That’s really important to me.”

Sriram began competing in archery in sixth grade. He has since attended over 30 competitions across the country, meeting people from a wide variety of backgrounds along the way. Attending archery competitions provided Sriram with a close community of passionate archers and taught him how to connect with others through a shared interest. Close friend Mariana Ryder (12) appreciates Sriram’s genuine desire to learn about others. 

“He takes interest in what other people are trying to tell him,” Mariana said. “A lot of the time, he seems more emotionally reserved, but he’s actually very contemplative. If you went to him with any problem, he would solve it. He’s also very academically curious. He pursues his ambitions and is incredibly driven.”

Sriram’s compassion truly shines through his mentorship of younger students. Combining his knowledge in science with his passion for service, Sriram began teaching coding and electronics classes to middle school students when he was in ninth grade. With his students, he developed devices for the visually impaired, such as an infrared sensor cap that served as an early warning detection system for objects nearby. He also mentors younger students in archery and has created some of the most formative experiences in his archery journey through teaching them. 

“One of my really special memories was a couple of weeks ago, when one of the ninth graders in my club beat me at a competition and got second [place],” Sriram said. “I was so proud of him because I felt like I had become a really good friend to him and tried to help him in any way I could as an older member. That was a really proud moment for me.”

Apart from his mentorship of younger students, Sriram impacts others with his lighthearted personality. His compassion and sense of humor truly make him who he is, and close friend Arjun Gurjar (12) deeply values Sriram as a friend because of these defining traits.

“Sriram always manages to make something super fun,” Arjun said. “Even if you’re having a bad day, he brightens up the mood of everyone around him, so it’s always refreshing to talk to him. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten tired of hanging out with him.”

Sriram found another supportive community within Downbeat, the upper school show choir, a group he joined after enjoying singing in the middle school choir. To this day, he believes that joining Downbeat is “the best decision [he’s] made,” and he appreciates gaining new experiences unique to performing arts. 

“I really enjoy the freedom you get in Downbeat,” Sriram said. “There’s a lot you can do as a performer for yourself while still staying in harmony with everyone else. There’s so much you can do with your voice and body and expressions. One thing that really amazes me is how much individual identity each person has, but how we still look so great as a group together.” 

Sriram seeks to extend his compassion to everyone in his community. As he reflects on his fleeting time as a senior at Harker, Sriram hopes that others will remember him not as a talented archer or brilliant performer, but rather as a friendly face who extends kindness to everyone around him. 

“I want to be remembered as the person who was really easy for everyone to talk to,” Sriram said. “That’s something I pride myself on. I like to make a lot of friends, and I want to be seen as someone who is super approachable, no matter what class or activities you’re in. I want to be a potential friend for everyone.”

Watching Sriram’s growth from freshman to senior year, upper school English teacher Susanne Salhab truly admires Sriram’s compassion, integrity and strong sense of self, which struck her and inspired her to push through stressful times. As Salhab’s time as Sriram’s advisor comes to a close, she leaves him with one piece of advice inspired by Polonius from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  

“Polonius gives this really long list with myriad pieces of advice, but the one that’s most beautiful to me is when he says, ‘This above all: to thine own self be true.’” Salhab said. “That’s my hope for Sriram: despite the tempestuous tumult that life is and how chaotic it can be, I hope that he keeps in touch with the core of who he is because he is such a kind, beautiful person.”

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About the Contributor
Charlize Wang, Reporter
Charlize Wang (11) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Charlize hopes to improve her journalistic writing abilities and grow closer to the members of the journalism team. In her free time, she likes to listen to music, visit cute cafes and watch dramas.

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