Class of 2015 Valedictorians and Salutatorians
Desh-Videsh congratulates all 2015 graduates! We wish them all a future filled with prosperity and meaningful opportunities. We are especially thrilled that so many of our young community members continue to excel and push themselves to be strong, talented leaders. Learn more about these Valedictorians and Salutatorians below.
Simran Vyas – Valedictorian
School: Boyd H. Anderson High School
Hometown: Sunrise, Florida
College: University of Florida
Parents: Anuja and Soham Vyas
Academic Awards: Harvard Book Program Winner AP Scholar 2014 Outstanding Student Senior Leader 2015 (Awarded by Broward County) Silver Cord: Completing 250+ community service hours Gold Cord: Top 10% of my class Principal’s Honor Roll
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? I plan to pursue neurology; however, I am not definite about my plans for the future. I want to explore my options in college and find my calling. However, I do have one goal in mind: service. Whatever I decide to pursue, it will revolve around some form of philanthropy because I want to help make a difference in our world by helping those who are not as fortunate.
What is your favorite quote? The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why? Malala Yousafzai – Her great courage and involvement in equal rights for women education is admirable. I aspire to build her level of courage to bring a change to this world.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why? Equality: Racial Equality, Gender Equality, Religious Equality, all forms of Equality. I believe that despite our differences, we are all human beings and we should be treated with equal respect and dignity. Instead of arguing over our differences, we should work together to live in peace and harmony.
What is your little-known talent ? Creative Writing
Cindy Rajkumar – Valedictorian
School: Ocoee High School
Hometown: Ocoee, Florida
College: Harvard University
Major: Double Major in: Microbiology/Immunology and Global Affairs
Parents: Kris Rajkumar and Christina Narain
Academic Awards: Graduated with an Honors Associates of Arts Degree (A.A. Degree) from Valencia College while in high school through dual enrollment. Recipient of over a million dollars in scholarships, including: Gates Millennium Scholarship Program (full-ride to any college), Coca Cola Scholarship ($20,000) and GE-Ronald Reagan Scholarship ($40,000). For community service work, I was selected as a Bank of America Student Leader, Bright House Future Leader, TEDx Innovative Speaker, President’s Academic Achiever, Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian, News 13 Scholar, and Orange County Super Scholar.
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? While advancing through my medical studies as a practicing General Surgeon, I will also gain status as governmental leader for our country. Throughout most of my adult life as a politician, I wish to serve and improve America’s K-12 public education system and develop a global program where medical professionals can easily access funding for research. I hope to one day be appointed as Surgeon General for the United States. Representing both, medicine and government, as a physician and politician, I will do my best to bring a new and restored image of public health and education globally.
What is your favorite quote?: “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” Albert Einstein
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why?: Charles Darwin. He was a man who inspired thinking beyond what is considered typical and accepted. He was brilliant and someone whom I could learn a lot from – he didn’t let society or negative reactions stop him from continuing his work. I’d love to pick his brains about science, politics, and technology.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why?: A free, structured and diverse subjected education that is accessible to every child globally is my uttermost priority. Every child isn’t born with the same assets: potential is equal, but opportunity is not. A system where children are taught not only history, but emphasis on current issues and progressions for the future is ideal. A system that promotes creativity and innovation. This system I just completed, needs tremendous improvements…improvements I will make
What is your little-known talent?: Harmonium Player and Painter
Anuj Desai- Valedictorian
School: Strawberry Crest High School (Dover), IB Program
Hometown: Plant City, Florida
College: University of Florida
Major: Biology with Pre Med Track
Parents: Mahesh and Jigisha Desai
Academic Awards: Ranked #3 in entire Hills borough County School District out of 12,250 Graduating Seniors, Principal’s Honor Roll, Superiors in the Musical Performance Assessment for Orchestra, AP Scholar with Distinction, IB Honor Roll
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? I plan to pursue a career as a neurologist.
What is your favorite quote? “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Herman Cain
What is your little-known talent ? I am active in the community as choreographer and director of Om Divine Dance Group with my two sisters Juhi and Shivani Desai.
Niritta Patel – Valedictorian
School: Hillsborough IB High School
Hometown: Tampa, Florida
College: Georgetown University
Major: Human Science (Pre-Medical)
Parents: Hemant and Malini Patel
Academic Awards: (100 words or less): AP Scholar with Distinction, Honors Level & State Honors with Gold Seal at Florida Music Student Day State Competitions, President’s Education Award for outstanding academic excellence, 1st Place at District Spanish Spelling Bee, National Honor Society inductee, Prudential Spirit of Community Award, Math Counts Achievement Awards, Spanish Honor Society achievement award, several FBLA competitions at National, State and District levels.
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? I plan to follow my passion for neuroscience and pursue medicine as a career and work with Doctors Without Borders serving those in need and befallen to man-made or natural disasters across the globe.
What is your favorite quote? The mind is everything. What you think you become. – Gautama Buddha
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why? Leonardo da Vinci – The Renaissance Man because he was the world’s first and likely only polymath who mastered so many disciplines and practiced them par excellence. I would love to know how he motivated himself to do so much.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why? Worldwide poverty among children is a huge dilemma facing our generation today. Locally 1 in 4 children go without adequate nutrition but the problem is much worse globally. I witnessed firsthand the plight of children in Kenya where I volunteered to provide meals for an impoverished primary school. Since these meals were the only food they had all day, it meant that the kids would stay in school instead of pursuing a life of petty crime and child labor. Locally, I bought, then refurbished and resold articles at garage sales to raise 10,000 meals for the hungry and distributed them through Feeding America. Although my meager efforts are simply a grain in the silo of food that is needed we all need to do our part to combat this very solvable issue.
What is your little-known talent ? Singing Christmas carols.
Vivek Miglani – Valedictorian
School: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Hometown: Coral Springs, Florida
Major: Computer Science
Parents: Naresh Miglani and Jyotsna Narayanswamy
Academic Awards: USA Mathematical Olympiad Qualifier, USA Computing Olympiad Finalist, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Finalist, 1st Place in 2014 National Who Wants to Be A Mathematician Contest
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? I plan on majoring in computer science and hope to specialize in machine learning or artificial intelligence.
What is your favorite quote? “Be the change yo u wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why? I would have breakfast with Andrew Ng, as he is an expert on Machine Learning and co-founded Coursera, a platform for massive open online classes. Coursera has provided the knowledge of university courses to millions of learners around the world, and I personally have learned so much through Coursera courses.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why? Poverty in developing countries is an issue close to my heart, as I see the extent of this issue when I visit India.
What is your little-known talent? Singing
Parth Patel – Salutatorians
School: Seminole Ridge High School
Hometown: Loxahatchee, Florida
College: Temple University
Major: Actuarial Science
Parents: Nibodh and Tejal Patel
Academic Awards: AP Scholar Palm Beach Post Pathfinder Nominee Palm Beach State College’s Dean List
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? Actuary position in an actuarial consulting firm such as Milliman.
What is your favorite quote? “Don’t stress too much about anything”
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why? Sachin Tendulkar- I enjoy watching and playing cricket, so meeting one of the greatest players would be a great opportunity.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why? Global. I’m a first-generation American, so the events in my parents’ country affects me a lot.
What is your little-known talent? I have the abili ty to quickly pick up on new concepts.
Suraj Ramrakhyani – Valedictorian
School: Steinbrenner High School
Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida
College: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Molecular Biology
Parents: Jitendra and Caroline Ramrakhyani
Academic Awards: 1. AP Scholar with Distinction 2. QuestBridge College Prep Scholar 3. QuestBridge College Match Finalist- 4. Steinbrenner Honors Court 5. Model United Nations Delegate Award
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? I plan to pursue a job in the Biomedical field, because the technology created by scientists help people all around the world.
What is your favorite quote? “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why? Nikola Tesla, to learn about how his mind works.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why? Climate change and mankind’s i mpact on the natural environment
What is your little-known talent? I am good at public speaking
Rooshee Patel – Salutatorians
School: Lake Region High School
Hometown: Winter Haven, Florida
College: University of Florida
Parents: Mukesh and Krupa Patel
Academic Awards: Academic Team All County All Academic Athlete Academic Team School Captain AP Scholar w/Distinction
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? If I pursue finance and choose to leave medicine, I will pursue a future in investment banking and maybe a couple entrepreneurial endeavors. Otherwise, a future in neurology, orthopedics, or in the CDC seems pretty good. These have all been long term passions to fix long term problems.
What is your favorite quote? “Theservice you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why? Myself 10 years in the past or 10 years in the future, because the best teacher can relate perfectly to you, and that person is yourself.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why? Corruption is the closest issue to my heart. All the other issues could be dramatically changed if this one was eradicated.
What is your little-known talent? Poetry
Ratnavi Shah – Salutatorians
School: Western High School
Hometown: Davie, Florida
College: Nova Southeastern University
Major: Biology (Pre-med)
Parents: Tirath and Manisha Shah
Academic Awards: Na tional Honor Society Leadership Award; Letter of Commendation, National Merit Scholarship Program; Rotary Club of Weston Student of the Month; Senior Hall of Fame Honoree; National AP Scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction; Certificate of Excellence for 5.0 plus GPA award; Certificate of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement in Science; Straight A Honor Roll
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? I plan to pursue a career in med icine. I find it to be one of the best fields in which I can find satisfaction by helping others. I will be able to constantly challenge myself to do better in a noble profession that I admire and respect.
What is your favorite quote? “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” -Confucius
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why? I would like to have breakfast with Charles Darwin as it would give me a chance to discuss his observations of the Galapagos finches and how they led to the development of his theory of evolution by natural selection.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why? Everyone deserves quality health care. After food, clothing, and shelter, health care has become the basic need for individuals around the globe. I believe that health care should be available to all people regardless of cost or distance.
What is your little-known talent? Drawing
Palak Patel – Valedictorian
School: Lincoln Park Academy
Hometown: Fort Pierce, Florida
College: University of Florida
Parents: Neha Patel
Academic Awards: Student of the Year for International Baccalaureate Statistics, Mass Media, and Algebra II Valedictorian Award
What job/position do you plan to pursue and why? I wish to be a pediatrician because I believe it is the most direct way of helping the future generation. I adore the innocent spirits of children as they embody the notable qualities we often lose as we transition into adulthood. Being a doctor will help me begin to transform the high cost of healthcare for the middle class.
What is your favorite quote? “Live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you”
If you could have breakfast with anyone, who would it be and why? I would have breakfast with Malala Yousafzai, because she has broken the gender role stereotype after risking her life. I would be honored to meet someone so inspiring to women everywhere, who is proving that our world is moving forward when it comes to women’s rights. I believe girls deserve an education just as much as boys do.
Which issue (global or local) is close to your heart, and why? The issue of a high crime rate in my hometown because of the lack of proper education and difficulty in the job market is close to my heart because my family has been victimized by criminals.
What is your little-known talent ? My little known talent is that I love to perform on stage as part of the theatre department.