In Memoriam of our Beloved Nidhi Rana and Ayush Rana


Sutanna Felder, Advisor

On the night of Sept. 1, we, the Passaic community lost two of our shining stars.

Best friends, Nidhi Rana, 18, and Ayush Rana, 21, lost their lives when they were swept away by the flood waters of Hurricane Ida.

Saturday, September 18, family and friends gathered in Passaic to remember the two friends.

The vigil brought out an outpour of tears, support and cherished memories. The friends were remembered as being supportive comrades, astute learners, and loving family members.

Nidhi’s sister, Disha Rana, 14, will always remember Nidhi for being her warmhearted big sister who had a thirst for success.

“[The photos are] from June 18, 2021 when she received badges and official scores from the three certification exams and was officially a NATIONAL CERTIFIED Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA), Phlebotomy Technician/Phlebotomist (PT) and ECG Technician (ET).

On this day, she was the happiest of all. Her smile was out of this world. The sparkles on her eyes literally proved to my family how she was so passionate, hardworking, and motivated to strive for a medical career. She did my vitals on that day. She looked so beautiful in her scrubs. I was captivated by the fire in her eyes. She was truly inspirational. She had a glow like no other.”

Nidhi was enrolled in the Biomedical Science pathway at Passaic Academy for Science and Engineering and was the president of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) from 2020-2021. Under the instruction and guidance of Biomedical Science teacher and HOSA Advisor Grace Lugo, Nidhi developed a keen interest in the medical field and helping the community.

Lugo will always remember Nidhi as a trailblazer.

“Nidhi was an exemplar scholar. She exceled in all her classes and was a leader amongst her peers. She had the courage to be outspoken and to be a friend. Not many students her age have the tenacity, discipline and passion to fight for what they want. Examples of these character traits could be found when she requested senior activities for her fellow classmates in times that did not seem possible due to health regulations; when she approached her teachers for feedback on her work even when it was simply easy to accept the grade because she had already received an outstanding score. She was kind and willing to help others, even when these individuals did not reciprocate the gesture. She initiated traditions in our HOSA club that encouraged the academic, social and emotional growth of our members (ex. organizing the Clubsgiving event, Mentorship Program, etc.), as well as impacted our community (blood drive organizer). HOSA and I will miss her tremendously.”

When asked how her sister would want to be remembered, Disha stated, “I am certain she wanted to be remembered as PA (Physician Assistant) Rana. She wanted to be in those hospital hallways; in the ICU at a clinic saving lives and taking care of others. That was her goal. So I would like for her to be remembered as PA Nidhi Rana.”

A message from The Science Star Advisor:

I did not have the pleasure of knowing Ayush but I did know Nidhi. She was a ferocious learner and a dedicated student, leader and friend. She only surrounded herself with the most supportive people who pushed her, and themselves, to be greater than yesterday. This is how I know that Ayush was a force to reckoned with. To be Nidhi’s bestfriend and voted as prom king as an alumni is quite the honor. It speaks to his character and how much he was loved and adored by his peers and the community at large.

The Science Star newspaper, in which Nidhi was a writer and editor of, sends our deepest condolences to the families of Nidhi Rana and Ayush Rana. May their memory continue to inspire us all.

In Her Own Words: Excerpt from Nidhi Rana’s graduation essay to the Class of 2021:

….As you go forward in your life. Remember to never stop BELIEVING in yourself. Whether you’re heading to a trade school, a university, community college, or simply wherever the wind takes you, remember to do so with an open mind and a full heart. Be ready for whatever the world throws at you and keep going. NEVER STOP BELIEVING.

One piece of advice that I would also like to give is to never base your worth on numbers. No GPA, weight scale, income figure, or any number you will encounter in life can measure the essence of your being. You are so much more than that. Never let anyone, anything, or any number define you. You know yourself more than anyone in the room so again, JUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

And lastly, Believe in the world we live in. Believe in your family, Believe in your peers. Believe in others. I know that this class can do anything we set our minds to. I have seen so many of you speaking up and participating in various movements. We are the generation that can bring change that we want to see in the world if we all believe in ourselves. We can erase the injustice, inequality, the plague of racism, and discrimination and hatred in this world. So, my friends, Always believe the power you hold within you. ….