San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Community gathers in vigil for SDSU student Max Aboudarham

The vigil honored the memory of Max “Macks” Aboudarham, a student who passed away following a car accident in Mammoth Mountain
Hannah Ly
Attendees embrace during a vigil held in memory of Max “Macks” Aboudarham at San Diego State University’s Aztec Recreation Center courtyard on April 11, 2024

A somber yet uplifting gathering occurred at San Diego State University’s Aztec Recreation Center courtyard on April 11. 

Friends, family and fellow students joined to honor the memory of Max “Macks” Aboudarham, an SDSU student and member of the community.

Max Aboudarham, a fourth-year business administration student, was deeply involved in various campus activities, including the men’s ultimate frisbee club, ski and snowboard team, as well as serving as president of the jiu-jitsu club. 

On the way to Mammoth Mountain for his final trip of the snow season, Max Aboudarham was involved in a head-on collision in a car with two of his ski and snowboarding team members, Ryan Dong and Matt Muyderman. While Dong and Muyderman, also SDSU students, are expected to make a full recovery, Max Aboudarham passed away from his injuries on March 29.

Victoria Santiago, a close friend of Max Aboudarham, began the vigil with a moment of reflection, inviting attendees to honor his memory through a grounding exercise of deep breaths. The crowd fell silent for a few moments to remember and appreciate Max Aboudarham.

Max’s sister, Romy Aboudarham, took the stand wearing his hiking pants and a hat, once shared by the two of them. Romy Aboudarham reminisced about the siblings’ shared memories, illustrating Max’s strength and character through anecdotes, like the lion tattoo on his back, which symbolized his ability to navigate life with intention.

“He lived life deeply and honestly and truly,” Romy Aboudarham said. “He’s someone that will continue to grow with me, and I can feel him. And I know that’s in every one of you here. We’re going to still keep living and doing life for him.”

Throughout the vigil, friends and family members took turns sharing cherished memories of Max Aboudarham, alternating between tears and laughter as they recounted his infectious spirit and kindness.

Michael Tran, coach of the ultimate frisbee team, shared his respect for Max Aboudarham’s dedication to self-improvement, leadership and camaraderie within the team. He highlighted his unique character through stories of his gym rituals and enthusiasm for life.

“Macks was known to go to the gym and fist bump himself in the mirror. So I’ll always remember him when someone fistbumps me,” Tran said, chuckling. “He always lived life to the fullest and inspired many to try new things. He was so ‘cowabunga,’ which is also a word he always used.”

The vigil concluded with a candle-lighting ceremony, with attendees taking a moment to remember the light within Max Aboudarham. 

Reflecting on the overwhelming support shown at the vigil, Verity Chase imagined her son’s reaction to the outpour of love and remembrance. 

“I think he would feel so proud, but at the same time, I guess he would feel a little bit shy and wondering where everybody’s coming from,” Chase said. “But I think at the end of the day, how can you not feel proud of yourself for having touched so many people? And if there is a great beyond and he’s looking down, I’m thinking he would be honored.”

About the Contributor
Hannah Ly
Hannah Ly, '23-24 News Editor
Hannah Ly (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year journalism major and marketing minor from San Jose, California. She serves as the news editor of The Daily Aztec and previously worked as a writing tutor of SDSU’s Writing Center, gaining exposure to different writing styles and genres. In addition to her editorial role, Hannah holds positions as Vice President of the Asian American Journalists Association at her university and as the editor for Cal State Student Wire, a CSU wire service. Her passion lies in empowering others through impactful storytelling and editing. In her free time, she enjoys being a foodie, listening to live music, playing poker and honing her pickleball skills.