Mother, father and son sit around a supreme pizza, laughing, telling stories of old times and good times yet to come.
Mom talked about the time her son had a ponytail, and the teenager rolled his eyes.
They told stories of warm, farm-fresh milk in India and the fact that the teenager likes to cook pancakes and loves eating watermelon.
The parents’ eyes shine with pride for their son, and they don’t hesitate to sing his praises.
Though their son, Aaron Abraham, has a list of awards behind him a mile long, goes to private school in Tulsa, and tends to spend more time at home with family than shopping at the mall, he’s just like any other 17-year-old.
However, unlike most boys his age, Aaron exudes a mature confidence in himself, an easy-going spirit with a quick smile.
Aaron’s mother and father are both from India. They moved to their home in Muskogee in 1988.
Both hold doctorates in science. Both teach at Bacone College, and Aaron’s father also owns a biotechnology company.
Older brother Juno Abraham is in college studying computer engineering.
Consequently, Aaron’s life influences include culture from India, strong beliefs in higher education, and a special interest in science.
Aaron has attended private schools his entire academic career, first at St. Joseph Catholic School then at Cascia Hall in Tulsa.
Though he spends much of his time in another town attending school, he never wanted to live anywhere but Muskogee, he said.
“I love Muskogee. I just go to school in Tulsa. That’s all I really do there,” Aaron said. “Here, I still play tennis at the park, go to movies, visit with friends. It’s my hometown.”
What’s truly unique about Aaron, though, is his high level of academic achievement combined with his content, easy-going attitude.
He’s cool as a cucumber — and his parents see him as a confident, mature young man, not just a teenager.
“Both of my boys are mature, grown-up for their age,” said his father Abraham Joseph. “As parents there has to be a purpose. It cannot be always about iPhones and video games and going crazy with it.”
Aaron studies three to five hours every school night, he said.
His parents don’t hang over his shoulder forcing him to study, though his mother, Jyoti Abraham, does sit up late with him, fixing her son peanut butter sandwiches and falling asleep on the couch nearby.
Aaron wants to excel and pushes himself to study.
“It’s definitely a cultural thing,” Aaron said. “My parents were raised the same way in India. There, everyone studies hard, and higher education is high priority.”
Serious though he is about studying, Aaron has a sense of humor all his own.
“I write my name on papers at school as A3 (a-cubed) because of my initials,” Aaron Akash Abraham said, laughing. “They all know who A3 is.”
From rats to rubber trees
Some of Aaron Abraham’s fondest memories are of visiting his grandmother “Chechi” in Kerala, a southern part of India, where rice and rubber trees are grown, he said.
One visit, he watched his father’s mother filter the fresh milk from their farm and boil it.
“Chechi brought me a glass of that fresh organic milk, still warm and frothy on top,” Aaron said. “She just sat with me while I drank it. So that is a nice memory.”
His mother, Jyoti, comes from a large, heavily-populated city.
“I don’t really like crowded cities. It makes New York City look not that bad, the traffic, the crowd,” Aaron said.
“Oh, that hurt my feelings,” Jyoti gasped, then laughed when Aaron rolled his eyes and laughed too.
“It was New Delhi, wasn’t it Mom? I really like her family a lot. They’re all older than me, but I got on well with them,” Aaron said.
His most vivid memory of that visit when he was 12-years-old — chasing a rat.
His mother’s most vivid memory of that trip — the mess he and cousins made chasing the rat.
“My brother, Juno, my cousins and I went in a bedroom and were in there for about an hour chasing a rat around, trying to kill the rat,” Aaron said, laughing. “We used a lot of stuff for ammunition, mostly shoes I think.”
A teenage love story
Tennis is a sport Aaron’s played since he was young, but Ultimate Frisbee brings him true joy, he said.
“It’s kind of like football, actually,” he said. “You try to intercept the Frisbee, try to get across the goal line. You can’t run when you have it, but it’s pretty intense.”
Aaron and sometimes up to 14 friends go to Honor Heights Park to get a game going when it’s warm outside.
Aaron went to an Oral Roberts University camp just before starting ninth grade.
There they set up an Ultimate Frisbee game, and he experienced it for the first time.
“It’s been a love story of mine since then,” Aaron said, then laughed.
At first, he wasn’t a stellar player by any means, he said.
“I was pretty good at catching but not real great at throwing.” he said. “I practiced in the back yard with Juno and Dad.”
His favorite game was one set up at night — they wore glow sticks on their clothes and used a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee.
“That was nice,” Aaron said.
He does love his Ultimate Frisbee, but the teen stays busy with many other activities as well.
Aaron said he loves being in the school bell choir, performing at Tulsa Ballet, KJRH and Tulsa Arts Council and actively participating in Academic Team competitions.
Additionally, he plays piano, is on the varsity tennis squad at Cascia, and dabbles in guitar for relaxation.
A3’s serious side all about education
Aaron’s middle name, Akash, means “open sky, unlimited sky,” said his father, spreading his hands wide.
Fitting for a young man whose future is wide-open, nearly unlimited, but not until he gets through school.
Study, eat, sleep — five days a week.
School nights are intense for Aaron; he spends three to five hours a night studying, he said.
“At some point you realize yourself, ‘Hey, this is really important,’” he said. “Even if there wasn’t other people stressing it to me, I’m at the point where I’d still be working just as hard.”
Nonetheless, his mother sits up with him most nights as he labors over science books and notes.
“She usually just falls asleep on the couch over there,” Aaron said, grinning at his mother. “Really, it bugs me sometimes, but she does make me late night peanut butter sandwiches.”
Aaron is medical school bound for certain.
“I’m not sure about a specialty yet. For a little while I thought about pediatrics,” he said.
“Then I remember going to Dr. (D.I.) Wilkinson’s office and seeing crying little kids with runny noses. Surgery I don’t mind, but snotty noses bug me,” Aaron said, shrugging and laughing.
Some of Aaron’s academic accomplishments include: National Merit Semi-Finalist 2010, AP Scholar with Honor Award for perfect score in three AP exams, top 5 percent in ACT Explore, Gold Honor and Silver Honor Roll 2007-2010, Outstanding Academic Excellence Award 2007, and many more.
In 2007, Aaron also had the unique honor of being the only Oklahoman selected as one of the 400 semi-finalists in the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge for Communicating Science Effectively.
Between his junior and senior years, he has enrolled in the maximum number of AP classes (total of seven) offered at his school.
And he does it all while commuting to school every day in Tulsa.
Meet Aaron Abraham
EDUCATION: Cascia Hall High School senior.
FAMILY: Dad, A. Joseph; Mom, Jyoti; and brother, Juno.
CHURCH: St. Joseph Catholic Church.
HOBBIES: Reading and playing tennis.