Most teachers will do anything in their power to help their students succeed. Sometimes helping a student is as simple as providing visual aids, or clarifying difficult concepts. Some students, however, need help in unexpected ways – ways that don’t necessarily have to do with the subject matter itself. For a Lincoln University student named Imani Lamarr, life outside of the classroom made school increasingly challenging.
Two years ago, Imani enrolled in a health sciences class taught by Dr. Aqeel Dix. It was her first semester back in school after giving birth to her son, and because he was born prematurely, the 21-year-old spent months visiting the NICU whenever possible. Imani named her son Christopher Murphy after her late father, and her beloved little boy immediately became the center of her world.
“It was really hard. Every day going to the hospital, seeing him and not being able to help him, it was hard,” Imani told 6ABC.
Imani returned to school, a difficult endeavor even for those who aren’t raising infants on their own. One day during her first semester back, the new mom couldn’t find a babysitter to watch Christopher while she went to class. She contacted her professor to let him know she wouldn’t be in class, but rather than send her a copy of the day’s notes, Dr. Dix had a surprising response.
“‘No.’ He told me no. And I was just looking at him like, no I can’t miss class? I don’t have nobody to watch my baby,” she recalled.
Instead, Dr. Dix told Imani to bring her son to class with her. She was hesitant, unsure of how she and the rest of the class would focus with a baby in the room. Her professor reassured her that it wouldn’t be a problem, and off to class they went.
What happened next quickly became an internet sensation, touching the hearts of people around the world. Imani couldn’t take notes while holding her baby, but Dr. Dix could lecture (mostly) uninhibited with a baby in his arms – so that’s exactly what he did. Thanks to Dr. Dix’s understanding and willingness to help out his student during her time of need, Imani is close to graduating with her degree.
“I never thought that it would come to that, and to have somebody who’s there for me…who really cares,” Imani said. “It meant a lot.”