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Former student a bright spot in teacher’s lives

Aria Chimalamarri, Class of 2014. The former student suffered from a terminal form of brain cancer.

Aria Chimalamarri, Class of 2014. The former student suffered from a terminal form of brain cancer.

Annalise Freimarck, News Editor

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SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Dressed in colorful garb, friends, family and teachers celebrated the life of Aria Chimalarri, a 2014 Branham graduate who passed away Sept. 20 from terminal brain cancer.

At her memorial Sept. 24, they were unwilling to let grief shadow what they knew Aria would have wanted.

Guests of the memorial were asked by her family to wear vibrantly colored clothing to honor Aria’s wishes and her unforgettable spirit. When first walking into the mortuary where the memorial took place, Aria’s beautiful artwork hung on the walls and some of her favorite songs were playing, while the vivid colors of the clothes and the decor symbolized all of the love that Aria had inspired in others.

At the memorial, which was open ti the public, teachers spoke about how they had been touched by Aria in her career at Branham, along with family and friends. Every guest relished in the memories and overall feeling of Aria, a presence that was apparent as soon as one entered the room.

Her family said that Aria had an aura around her that encompassed a special kind of of energy that was readily apparent wherever she was, despite her being ill. Her impact was exuded in the power and feeling of the memorial, where the memories were tangible in the words that were spoken in her honor.

When Aria was a student at Branham, her teachers and family said that she created a world of inspiration around everyone she came into contact with, and she especially impacted the teachers she had.

Leanne Haghighi, Aria’s teacher and case manager at Branham, has kept in touch with the family since her graduation.

Haghighi said that Aria inspired her to “make the best of any situation and persevere through the rough times.” She said that no matter what Aria was going through with her health or other stresses, she remained positive.

Eileen Bertron, who had Aria for her 3D design class, said that Aria “had this sparkle in her eyes”, reflecting Bertron’s impression surrounding Aria, that “she had a way of being so positive” and this made others positive.

Her zeal for life even carried with her into the classroom, although she fought cancer on a daily basis.

“Aria was, and will always , in my eyes, be considered the epitome of a warrior and a fighter,” said Lisa Pimental, Aria’s photography teacher.

,“The presence she carried was pure joy – for life, for music, for art, for Drake,” she continued. “And because of her beautiful smile, it was a joy that was hard to ignore.”


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Former student a bright spot in teacher’s lives