Santiago High School's Student News Site

Shark Attack

Santiago High School's Student News Site

Shark Attack

Santiago High School's Student News Site

Shark Attack

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For Adam

Remembering Adam James Nemat
Adam’s Memorial at School

Adam Nemat was an amazing student here at Santiago High School. Adam was many things: kind-hearted, funny, spontaneous, genuine, thoughtful, and passionate, just to name a few. Besides that, Adam was a dear friend and classmate to many people. He was there for everyone and anyone, always willing to help others, especially as a tutor for math and physics, where he truly excelled. Adam participated in many activities around campus. He was a part of Unity, a club focused on uniting all students on campus. He was a lab assistant for Dr. Lachman and even went on one of the trips he organized. He was also part of the physics club, run by Mr. Sum, and worked to spread his love and knowledge of physics to everyone. Teachers who have had the opportunity to have him in their class and get to know him will always believe him to be special because of his helpful nature.

Unity’s Seniors


Adam has always been kind-hearted, wanting to help out the world in any way possible. So, when he got to Santiago High School, he joined Unity, a club here on campus that focuses on inclusivity for everyone of all grades. He was so involved with Unity, even so, that Adam was a prominent member of their E-Board, and he used his platform to help the students of Santiago. When asked about Adam’s role in Unity, Mrs. Thompson, the Unity Teacher Advisor, answered, “In his sophomore year, he stepped into a leadership role comfortably, and I feel he found his voice. Then his junior year, he just showed up with so much more confidence and students just looked to him for leadership,” she elaborated. 

Mrs. Thompson believes that Adam had more perspective on life than some adults. “He really understood the importance of doing for others, he understood the importance of leading others and following, he understood the importance of being a certain leader and making sure that we [Unity] are leading by example, and that there are people in our community and in the world at large that need a lot of help” Thompson elaborated. 

Elijah Tajo (11) was one of those students who looked to Adam for leadership, looking to Adam as one for not only Unity issues but personal issues as well. Elijah, more commonly known as Eli to his friends, recalls having a heartfelt conversation with Adam one day, which “opened my eyes to Adam and made me realize that he and I share so many similarities in how we think. He was someone I always viewed as a leader.” Eli truly valued his friendship with Adam, seeing him as “a light that would illuminate a room as he walked… and just his presence alone could brighten up my day when I was feeling down.”

Another friend of Adam, Jared Alano (12), also saw Adam as a source of brightness. He recalls, “Adam loved to be a bright light in the room, the cause of your smile, and the creator of joyful memories.” 

Adam was a beacon of light to those around him, influencing others to do better for those around him. 

Adam still had a sense of humor in the class, and Mrs. Thompson recalls the funny moments when Adam would “randomly do handstands in the middle of us taking photos and cartwheels in the middle of my classroom.” She even recalls when Adam presented during Unity’s election, where he discussed not having an E-Board since everyone in Unity should be equal, which she believes “really changed the way we did things this year.”

Adam formed many friendships with fellow Unity students. When asked about Adam, many of his friends recall his bright energy. Jocelyn Paek (12) is the president of Unity and worked alongside Adam throughout the year. 

When I asked her about her favorite memories with Adam, all she could recall were “times together in unity and math along with our car trips off campus for lunch…always fun and exciting with Adam.” She emphasized this by recalling her memory of when Adam once hit a curb, making her fiesta potatoes fly onto his dash, and they “pulled over for a moment of silence after.” 

If you knew Adam, even surface-level, you would know Adam had celiac disease. Besides that fact, his favorite fast food restaurant to go to was Cane’s. There at Cane’s, Adam would always order the chicken naked, something many of his friends would remember forever. 

Some of Adam’s other Unity friends have similar memories of him. Asir Mazhar (12) recalls, “Every day from junior year to the end of his senior year, every Unity activity and lunch day would be spent with him without fail.”

Asir remembers the crazy lunch outings and even talks about the one time Adam drove him to get a haircut during lunch since “He [Adam] was the only person to agree to such a stupid idea.” 

However, that wasn’t the only hair incident that Asir and Adam experienced together. Asir also talked about when Adam wanted to buzz his hair, so Asir and Jared Alano bought hair clippers. They also bought a beanie just in case something terrible happened and helped Adam buzz his hair. Asir himself cut Adam’s hair and was worried, saying “‘Wait’ but he [Adam] was like ‘Don’t worry it’ll grow back in a year’.” 

Blood Drive

Physics + Chemistry 

Adam’s love for physics was something people knew about him immediately after meeting him. His love for physics became a sort of trademark for him. He was always doing physics problems in his free time for fun, too. If you let him, he would talk and talk for hours. He would always talk about the subject, telling you about his favorite equations and why. 

This year, Adam was a tutor in the AP Physics C class after taking the class himself last year. As a tutor, Adam was a great help to Mr. Sum as he often tutored kids in the class, helped them whenever they struggled, and cared for others. Sum recalls how Adam “did things; even if he was doing something for himself, he thought of others.”

Physics truly was where Adam shone. His love for the subject radiated to everyone, and even if you didn’t care for or understand it, you couldn’t help but listen to him speak about it. Mr. Sum remembers “just seeing him so happy and joyful” in class, surrounded by some of his favorite things: physics equations and his friends.  

When I asked Mr. Sum about a moment that sticks out to him about Adam, he told me about Adam’s great idea to reform the Physics Club. According to Mr. Sum, Adam “Handled everything, finding the officers, doing the paperwork, helping them [the other officers] with paperwork, and it was to no benefit to him, but he just knew I needed help and didn’t want me to be burdened with it. He just took it on.”

Adam loved to challenge himself, and in junior year, he studied for the AP Chemistry exam. He has also been a lab assistant for Dr. Lachman for the past two years, helping Dr. Lachman and his students. Fortunately, this year, Adam became Co-Chief Lab Assistant and was able to mentor 22 other lab assistants. 

Dr. Lachman, the AP Chemistry teacher here at Santiago, told me about the lab assistants’ demos they would show to his classes.  Lachman added, “His lab demos and sometimes oddball narratives accompanying them were hugely entertaining to the class, and sometimes you could even hear an evil laugh lurking underneath.” He never failed to make even the most boring demos entertaining for others. 

Dr. Lachman got to know Adam very well over the years and even more over the summer when Adam and a few other students joined him on his yearly trips to places around the world. This year, it was South Africa. When I asked Dr. Lachman about Adam, he recalled Adam being “kind, gentle, playful, adventurous, with a keen sense of humor and a desire for equitable justice for everyone.”

Immediately after this, Dr. Lachman told me about the time when Adam almost killed him in South Africa. “At Grass Cop Gorge, they were to walk the suspension bridge over a deep gorge. Well, they had cliff jumping, which was certainly off the itinerary. Adam led the way, and we all jumped. Adam initiated this, and it has become one of my fondest memories of my fairly adventurous life.”

Homecoming ’21


Adam touched the lives of many students here at Santiago, becoming friends with many students through his easygoing nature. I could speak to many of his closest friends and ask them about their beloved friends.  

When I asked Evangeline, or Evie, Dael (12) about the best aspects of Adam, she was able to respond about the thoughtfulness he showed for his friends. Evie recalled how, over the summer of 2023, Adam went on a few trips, one to South Africa and one to Cal Berkeley, barely seeing his friends. However, when he returned, he drove to each of his friends’ houses, bringing them souvenirs he had bought for them from Berkeley. For Evie, he got her a tie-dyed Berkeley shirt because it reminded him of the tie-dyed Mammoth hoodie she would wear in middle school. Furthermore, this made Evie realize “that a friendship with Adam is the type of friendship you don’t have to worry about. He was the type of friend you might not talk to for a few months but then pick up right where you left off.” 

When talking to some of his other friends about their favorite memories, some recall the simple times with him, like spending time at his house over the summer. Being close friends with Adam would mean he would invite you to his home during the summer to hang out. At his house, hanging out with friends was where everyone thrived and made some of the best memories. 

Leah Hendricks (12) also held those summer memories close to her, describing them as her favorite. Leah recalled “seeing him in the summer with all our closest friends, swimming all day, being able to detach away from our phones and just enjoying each other’s company.”

I also can recall when Adam showed up at my door after getting back from Berkeley with a Berkeley sweatshirt. And even though he had just gotten back that day, he wanted to see his friends. Those summers at Adam’s house were always the best; it’s when we behaved like actual teenagers. Hanging out at Adam’s house always led to us coming up with the most random things to do. For example, while at his house, Adam said he wanted to shave his legs because he was too hot. So, he gave Evie and me $40 and let us go to the store and buy whatever supplies needed to shave his legs. Then, once we got back, he began shaving his legs while Evie and the rest of our friends sat around and talked.

Luciano De La Torre (12) recalls the best memories being simpler, like when he, Adam, and a few other friends “would spend 24 hours a day just playing video games and having fun” over quarantine. During their sessions playing video games, all you would be able to hear was yelling because someone messed up or laughing because someone made a stupid mistake.

An additional memory Luciano remembers fondly is the one where Adam “would do anything to get along with people and get people to get along with each other. Like how Aidan [Lee (12)] wanted to start learning how to skate, and then Adam decides to join him.”

“He was a guy who definitely was dedicated to what he’s doing and his friends,” Luciano told me. 

Maya Ladehoff (12) remembers her favorite memory of meeting Adam’s family for the first time. Maya talked about how Adam showed her his newly made-over room while they waited for his parents to get home. “But my favorite part was seeing the smile on his face stretching from ear to ear,” she said. 

Although previously warned by Adam about his “crazy” family, they were nothing but welcoming to Maya, who immediately welcomed her and cooked dinner for them all. “His mom was the sweetest woman I had ever met, immediately welcoming me into their home. His dad started cooking up gluten-free spaghetti per Adam’s request.”

Adam’s parents’ warm and welcoming energy was passed down to him, who made everyone feel included. Adam truly touched the lives of many of his friends, many of whom I know will never forget their dear friend. 

“Adam was weird, but in the best way possible, and if you never got the chance to experience his bizarre character, I’m sorry. I’m sorry because you’ll never find another person like Adam Nemat, who I was so graciously lucky to have met all those years ago” – Evie Dael (12)

Flowers left for Adam


If you knew Adam Nemat, you would know how important family was to him. He loved them wholeheartedly, from his parents, Ali and Mona Nemat, to his siblings, Alex, Andrew, and Amber Nemat (9). Fortunately, this year, Adam and Amber could go to high school together, and even better, Adam and Amber could share a class: Unity. Unity was special; it meant that they would get to spend more time together. I was able to interview his sister, Amber, about Adam, who looked back on all her memories with her brother. She recalled, “We went to my cousin’s house in December, and we all bleached and dyed his hair red” as her favorite memory. 

Amber also talked about Adam’s adventurousness, as he was always down to go on an adventure. She even talked about how selfless Adam is, saying, “he loved giving back to our community.”

Adam and Amber are excellent examples of siblings; although they fought very little, they were there for each other no matter what. Adam loved his family above anything and everything, even more than physics. He would do anything for them, no matter what. 

Adam from one of Unity’s Spirit Weeks


Adam, you genuinely have impacted not only my life but the lives of everyone you’ve come across. I’m glad I was able to create so many memories with you, and I thank you for everything. And, this may sound cheesy, but Adam Nemat, you may be gone, and you’ll never be forgotten by those whose lives you have touched. 

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning” – Albert Einstein.

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About the Contributor
Kendall Hutchinson
Kendall Hutchinson, Staff Writer
Kendall Hutchinson (12) is a senior in her first year of journalism. She plans on attending a four year where she’ll study either history or political science. After, she hopes to go to law school and become a lawyer to help people. Kendall enjoys reading different books and even the news, which piqued her interest in helping others. Over the summer Kendall participated in a week-long program that focused on different social issues and how to bring awareness to them. She realizes that her future as a lawyer will be a lot of work but is willing to work for the outcome. Over the summer, she also was able to travel to South Korea and wants to continue to travel after high school, learning about different countries and their cultures around the world. You can contact Kendall at [email protected]
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  • C

    Cassandra VargasMay 19, 2024 at 11:06 pm

    Beautiful words ❤️

  • M

    madyMay 7, 2024 at 9:25 pm

    Beautifully written <3

  • A

    AsirMay 7, 2024 at 9:35 am

    This was a truly beautiful and amazing piece Kendall. Thank you so much for publishing this article for him.