There’s a saying: “Be strong, because you never know who you are inspiring.” City College junior Aaron Raines was the perfect embodiment of that phrase. In 2012, the Virginia native was a member of the staff of Royal News and PGTV (Prince George High TV), where she once spoke out about the differences between fairy tales and real life. The preternaturally wise young student said, “If you want the happy ending at the end of the movie, then you have to play the part.”
And Aaron lived up to her words. When she was only fifteen, the budding author self-published her first book. She performed in school plays, such as Aladdin and the Arabian Nights. In high school, she became the first African-American to address the graduating class. She was a member of honor societies, including Sigma Tao Delta. Aaron was a Presidential Scholar and Watson Fellow. She was active in student government and interned for organizations such as America Needs You. Aaron also somehow found the time to establish a nonprofit, Think Pink 4 Life, which aims to instill positive body image in young women. She accomplished all of this despite having a less than perfect home life.
Her life had more conflict and struggles than the average fairy tale, yet Aaron rose above it to make her story shine. She infused the lives of others with the same infectious can-do spirit. For example, she motivated her friend Bailey Borchardt to realize that there was more to life than serving as the manager of the Victoria’s Secret Pink, where they both worked. Bailey is now an Honors student at CCNY.
On November 28, 2016, the promising life of Aaron Raines was tragically cut short by an ex-boyfriend who took her life before ending his own. Murdered in her own home just days after Thanksgiving, the bodies of Aaron and her killer were discovered by her roommates. At the commencement ceremony this June, however, Aaron Raines will posthumously receive her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature, for which she had worked so feverishly.
The City College Fund is proud to collaborate with the friends and family of a fallen angel by establishing The Aaron Raines Scholarship. Initiated by Bailey Borchardt, the scholarship is proof that no act of kindness is ever wasted; that brightening the lives of one person, or many, paves the way for many others to improve. Selflessness, integrity, and leadership becomes a beautiful, never-ending cycle.
Aaron once said, “Fairy tales aren’t just for princesses, you know; we all get to be Cinderella and Jasmine now and then. You have to be strong enough to make it through the conflicts and find yourself along the way. If you can create magic without the help of Disney, then the happiness you receive from it just may be real.” Please help us to honor the life of this extraordinary young woman by giving to The Aaron Raines Scholarship. Our goal is to raise $30, 000 by Commencement Day, Friday June 2nd. Gifts can be made at www.crowdrise.com, by calling 212-650-6525, or by mail at The City College Fund, 160 Convent Avenue, Shepard Hall, Room 166, New York, 10031.
Aaron added her own magic to everyday life, and to those around her. Her story didn’t have a happy ending, but your donation will bring CCNY students one step closer to their dreams. Your gift will not only ease their financial burden, it will prove that hopes and dreams can never be silenced. That a pure heart can live on forever. Please donate today.