The Impact of Friendship: Lauren Perna and Andrea Jaime


Lauren Perna

Andrea Jaime and Lauren Perna did everything together like having a fun night out, as pictured.

Jana Faour, Copy Editor

Lauren Perna and Andrea Jaime first met at an open court volleyball game at Coral Gables Senior High School. Perna described herself as a “scared little freshman” and Jaime was a junior at the time. The age gap did not stop them from becoming the best of friends, as they shared a mutual interest in the medical field and the volleyball court. Their friendship was one that seemed as though they had known each other for years. Perna described Jaime as someone she saw as an inspiration, learning from her throughout all the time they spent together.

“Andrea Jaime was the kind of friend that you could be yourself around, the type of person that got along with everyone she was around and the kind of human that brightens up any room she walked into,” alumna Lauren Perna said.

To Perna, Jaime was not only her role model, but one of the people who encouraged her to get out of bed and get to school. Perna would not have any classes with Jaime due to their age difference, but they were always together during volleyball practice. They did all of their drills together and were “pepper partners,” always practicing their bump, set and spike techniques together. Perna admitted that having Jaime there to practice with is one of her favorite memories from high school.

In her senior year, Jaime focused on applying to universities with the top pre-medical programs. Although Perna’s sister was studying to be a pharmacist and had an impact on her view of the medical field, Jaime truly cultivated her interest in the subject. When Jaime, someone Perna saw as a soulmate, encouraged her to look further into the medical field, Perna became more interested.

Jaime shed light on the vast amount of opportunities in the medical field and Perna began to investigate her choices on her own. The idea of nursing resonated with her as she understood the different aspects of “compassion, empathy, resilience and developing new relationships” that came with it.

Jaime graduated in the Coral Gables Senior High School class of 2013 to attend Georgetown that fall. They luckily cherished the moments they had together, as their friendship was cut short in 2014. Andrea Jaime suddenly passed away from Meningitis a year after she graduated. The news shocked everyone on the Gables campus, one of the most affected being Perna.

“I miss her voice, being able to talk to her any time I want and being able to hug her. I miss her calling me and asking me about guy advice, or complaining about how hard calculus was at Georgetown and the fact that her professor did not let the class use calculators. She was the absolute best person I could have ever met in Gables and she has left a lifelong impact on me,” alumna Lauren Perna said.

Continuing school was already hard with Jaime off campus, but not having her there at all was a heartbreak no one was expecting. Perna stuck to the medical track, honoring Jaime while doing so. Once she graduated from Gables, she attended the University of Florida. She studied to become a registered trauma nurse, working in the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital.

She thanks Gables for teaching her valuable lessons of independence, competitiveness (thanks to Coach De la Vega), learning how to be effective in group environments and learning how to enjoy her life. She thanks Gables for introducing her to some of her lifelong friends and for being so supportive while she grieved the loss of her best friend. She is grateful that Gables gave her the space to play the sports that she loves and introduce her to both teachers and friends that became family


I went through the hardest thing someone has to go through while I was a senior in high school. It was the people and the faculty, especially Mr. Molina, that made me realize how precious life was and how important it was to keep up with all your friendships and relationships,

— alumna Lauren Perna

Andrea Jaime’s legacy remains at Gables, her name proudly representing the students who strive to be in the medical field. In 2019, the Andrea Jaime Medical Leaders club was created, honoring the dedication Jaime had to becoming a medical practitioner even before she graduated. She has given many students a safe space and the reassurance that they can become the medical professionals they want to be, all while remaining true to themselves, just as she did.

Perna described her as, “Intelligent, humble, and selfless. I can describe her in one thousand more words but even that would not be enough to describe the kind of person she was and what an inspiration she has been to me and others that looked up to her.”