We study history while we make it.

Aamir Simms

Aamir Simms {state champ and history buff}

My sophomore year was pretty special. Our basketball team won the state championship, and outside of the gym, I got to spend more time with my favorite subject: history. My coach and advisor, Cade Lemcke, has guided the team and me to the pinnacle of our sport—the winning of a state championship. Yet he has guided me in other aspects of life as well, and it’s nice to have a mentor when so many decisions need to be made in a day. He’s helped keep my life on a bright path.

As far as the Blue Ridge culture goes, it is evident why so many do well here: we are always encouraged to try new things, and that fits my personality. It is one of the reasons I took up track while I was here. I keep adding as I go. One of my best friends at Blue Ridge is Ballard Earley. I didn’t really interact with people until he introduced me and made me feel at home. And now we are all one family. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. (Aamir is attending Clemson University.) For a video of Coach Lemcke and Aamir talking about teamwork at BRS, click here.)

Aamir's Team

Mr. Matt Bennett

Mr. Matt Bennett

{History teacher}

I am happy that Aamir loves basketball and has achieved success playing it, but his love of school, and especially history, are what stand out to me. Aamir has a Renaissance approach to life. He’s not one-dimensional. He sits up front in my class and is eager to learn. He takes the same enthusiasm to pursuits outside of class as well. Honestly, I love having him in my class because not only is he an eager student but he gets discussions going amongst the group and increases participation. He is genuinely thankful for the chance to learn, and I’ve tried to foster that by encouraging him to go as far as he can with each topic we study. I look forward to seeing where his journey goes next!

{Mr. Bennett has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master of Arts in History from The Citadel.}

Ballard Earley

Ballard Earley

{friend and classmate}

I first met Aamir when our advisor, Mr. Lemcke, asked me to bring him to our advisee dinner at his apartment. I started talking to Aamir about how crazy tall he was, and then we discovered we both love basketball. He was pretty shy at first, because he came midyear. I remember in my first week at Blue Ridge feeling shy as well, so I wanted to help him by introducing him to other boys and teachers. Now we hang out a lot, and I know he feels more comfortable at Blue Ridge. Whether it’s academics or social life, we seem to share thoughts on everything, and that is what it is all about here: No judgments, group achievements—and friends for life.

Mr. Cade Lemcke

Mr. Cade Lemcke

{coach and advisor}

Outside of basketball, Aamir is very interested in mountain biking and he’s a funny, humble kid who stays behind the scenes and gets things done. I have the privilege of serving as Aamir’s basketball coach and his advisor. Being from central Virginia, Aamir has always known about Blue Ridge School, but didn’t necessarily believe he would have an opportunity to be a student at such a place. Once he had the opportunity to attend, he has made it his mission to constantly show his appreciation for what he has been given. He has a lot of supporters in the area who are rooting for him to do well. This is a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly, and he wants to make all those people proud.

Aamir is a gifted athlete, participating in four sports here at school: football, basketball, baseball, track. He is dedicated to helping the team in any way he can, no matter the position or role on the team. Aamir is very interested in mountain biking and hopes to join that team in the spring over the next couple of years. The only challenge: will they have a bike big enough for him?

The academic environment has been perfect for Aamir. The other aspect that has allowed Aamir to blossom as a student is the genuine interest and care that each of his teachers has for his future. His teachers hold him accountable for getting things done and do it in such a manner that he knows they care about him and understand what he can accomplish down the road as a student-athlete in college.

Aamir has made friends from all over the world and doesn’t shy away from getting to know everyone. For example, he has a roommate from China, a teammate from Russia, and a classmate from Egypt. Learning about these cultures and gaining insight from these students (and others) further bolster his ability to take on the real world after high school. Aamir’s ability to build friendships with all different types of people is another skill that allows him to flourish in a melting pot like Blue Ridge School. There is no doubt that Aamir is a future leader here on campus. Only a sophomore, he has already earned the respect and admiration of teammates, classmates and faculty alike. In the end, he knows the opportunity he has been given and is constantly reminded of the sacrifices people have made to have him here. He will not let those people down!

{Mr. Lemcke has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.}