Joshua Ricks, now 26, was around five years old when he first met childhood buddies Harrison Daste and Andrew Amedee at St. Charles Borromeo School (SCB) in Destrehan. It was a friendship the three schoolmates would maintain well into adulthood.
“We have all kept in touch with each other over the years,” Ricks said. “We all went to SCB together, then went our separate ways in high school.”
While Ricks went to Brother Martin High School, Amedee and Daste attended Jesuit High School together and maintained a close friendship.
“Harrison and I grew up and did almost everything together,” Amedee said. “Both of us consider each other’s moms as our “second mom.”
From time to time the trio would get together and hang out with each other along with other friends and catch up. After separately graduating college, the three met up once again and entered LSU Medical School together, each pursuing a career in medicine.
During their time in medical school, Amedee and Daste would meet up regularly and study together, taking the occasional video game break or playing a round of golf together after an intent round of test-taking. Both Amedee and Daste wound up becoming roommates in medical school.
“We spent a lot of time together those first two years of medical school,” Daste said. “It was helpful to have a close friend to ask questions, bounce ideas off of, share in frustrations, or just hang out with at the end of a long day at school.”
All three schoolmates – Ricks, Amedee and Daste – now share an unusual milestone. The three men, who began elementary school together in Destrehan over 20 years ago, have now completed LSU Medical School and become doctors together. They recently graduated in May in the same 2023 LSU graduating class.
“As a young boy, I always felt that medicine was for me,” Dr. Ricks explained of the draw he felt towards a medical career. “I wanted to help people, especially women. SCB did a great job teaching me to be selfless and to help those who needed it.”
Now that he’s completed medical school, Ricks will pursue a medical specialty in obstetrics and gynecology, a choice he said was easy to make.
“To me, there is no greater joy than bringing new life into this world, and helping, advocating for women and their health,” Dr. Ricks said.
Dr. Harrison Daste’s first encounter with medicine occurred when he fractured a bone in his elbow while playing baseball in middle school. He met a surgeon who helped calm his fears, diagnose, and explain what happened, then came up with a plan on how to fix it.
“I immediately knew that I wanted to have that ability,” Dr. Daste said.
Dr. Daste has decided to pursue Emergency Medicine and will go on to begin his residency training at the LSU Baton Rouge Emergency Medicine Program, which will last three years.
“For the next three years, I will be working…mostly at Our Lady of the Lake’s emergency department,” Dr. Daste explained of his current career plans. “My fiancée is currently in medical school in Shreveport. After completing both our residencies, I believe our plan is to come back to the New Orleans area to find jobs.”
For Dr. Amedee, who will now be taking an internal medicine track, his strong interest in science eventually led him to medicine.
“I’ve always had an interest in science growing up; it was my favorite subject,” Dr. Amedee said. “When I went to college, I majored in kinesiology, which allowed me to study what I was most interested in and complete all my pre-med prerequisites. It was these classes in college such as anatomy, taking a cadaver dissection lab, and the various classes that involved the neuromuscular system that reinforced my desire for a career in medicine.”
Amedee will start his residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in Montgomery, starting in July, and plans to return to South Louisiana once done.
“I grew up here and love the people here, so I would like to give back to them any way possible,” Dr. Amedee said.