Valedictorians and Salutatorians, Class of 2012

Valedictorians and Salutatorians, Class of 2012

Valedictorians and Salutatorians, Class of 2012The younger generation of our community continues to amaze. From winning national spelling bees and science competitions to excelling in dance and music, Indian American students truly demonstrate the results of the impact of hard work and perseverance. This month, we recognize the valedictorians and salutatorians of the class of 2012. These students followed a rigorous schedule and pursued advanced academics to achieve the prized accomplishment of being in the top two of their graduation classes.

Desh-Videsh congratulates these young academics and wishes them well as they continue their educational journey.

Preeti Sarangarajan
Valedictorian Lake Mary High School
GPA: 4.65
Hometown: Lake Mary
College: University of Florida
Major: Biology and finance
Parents: Ravi & Kumuda Sarangarajan
Preeti was born on January 20, 1995, in Somerset, New Jersey. Her parents are from Southern India, and she has one older sister who attends University of South Florida College of Medicine.

Mentor: I consider my older sister to be a great mentor because she always gives me good advice about how to stay on track and she is very supportive.

On Being an Indian American: I come from a very cultured Indian family and I try to keep those traditional values with me everywhere I go. At the same time, I am able to bring those values and morals when I am not at home and I feel that has made me a better person at school or anywhere else. I have never felt disadvantaged because I have had a great support system that has helped me whenever I get to a point where I start feeling uncomfortable.

Advantage of Being Indian American: I think the biggest advantage for Indian Americans is support from family and friends.

Mantra for Young Aspirants: The only mantra that I really try to follow is “Stay Focused and Stay Real.”

Favorite Indian Book: Interpreter of Maladies
Favorite Non-Indian Book: The Great Gatsby
Favorite Indian Movie: Dor
Favorite Non-Indian Movie: A Beautiful Mind
Favorite Indian Food: Dosa
Favorite Non-Indian Food: Veggie Lo Mein

Bijen Jayesh Patel
Valedictorian Plant City High School
GPA: 8.92
Hometown: Plant City
College: University of South Florida
Parents: Jayesh and Mayuri Patel

Born on December 2, 1993 in Tampa, Florida, Bijen lives with his parents and older brother, Samir. His parents moved from India before he was born.

Mentor: My parents are my mentors because they teach me the value of hard work and education.

On Being Indian American: Being Indian American is advantageous because I am able to fluently speak English, and also communicate with other Indians. I have never felt at a disadvantage being an Indian American.

Advantage of Being Indian American: Indians have known the value of hard work and education for a very long time now. This is what gives Indian Americans the advantage in everything involving education.

Mantra: “Earn Your Achievements”
Non-Indian Book: The Count of Monte Cristo
Indian Movie: De Dana Dan
Non-Indian Movie: 21 Jump Street
Indian Food: Butter Chicken
Non-Indian Food: Barbeque Ribs

Neil Thackar
Salutatorian Stranahan High School
GPA: 5.2
Hometown: Plantation
College: Nova Southeastern University
Major: Biology
Parents: Bharat and Bijal Patel

Born in Plantation, Florida, Neil has one younger brother, Naman, and one younger sister, Ashka. Neil’s father is from Surat, India, and his mother, Bijal, was born in Mumbai, India.

Mentor: I consider my father to be my mentor because he exemplifies the characteristics of the person that I want to become when I am older. He works very hard, is very organized, and selfless.

Being and Indian American: I don’t think that being an Indian American has given me any particular advantage or disadvantage. I think that everything that I have earned in my life is a product of how much work I put in.

Advantage of being Indian American: I think that most Indians have a very hard working mindset. Being that most of our parents of come from India, American Indian children see how hard their parents work, and want to try to work as hard as them. After all, a lot of our parents left India just so that we could have a better life.

Mantra for Young Aspirants: Everything you earn in life is a product of how much work you put in.

Favorite Indian Book: Bhagavad Gita
Favorite Non-Indian Book: Huckleberry Finn
Favorite Indian Movie: Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.
Favorite Non-Indian Movie: The Taking of Pelham 23
Favorite Indian Food: Mutter Panner
Favorite Non-Indian Food: Mexican Nachos

Parthik Patel
Salutatorian, Plant City High School
College: University of Miami
Major: Biochemistry
Parents: Dipak and Bhavana Patel

Parthik was born at Tampa General Hospital on June 18, 1994. His mom, Bhavana, is from Mumbai and dad, Dipak, is from Anand. His younger sister, Dhara is a junior at Plant City High.

Mentor: My mentor has been in my life since I was born, my dad. From the time that he lived in India to his life in America, my dad has really shown that opportunities can be made and we just need to put everything we have into our ambitions. When he moved to America, he started with little to nothing and today, has enough to support our family, provide and education, and stay true to our heritage.

Being an Indian American: My being an Indian American is more than just a name to me, it is my association with people just like me, an identity, and most of all a title given to generations of families who have given a lot for what we have today. Being an Indian American has not given me an edge, but makes me inspired to work harder and I have never felt disadvantaged.
Mantra for Young Aspirants: A mantra that young aspirants should keep in mind is the Shanti

Om Sahana Vavatu, Sahanau Bunaktu
Sahaviryam Karavavahai, Tejasvi Navadhitamastu
Ma vivdvisavahai, Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
When we really listen/speak this mantra, the person asks for any bitterness to be cleansed, to be one with God in your studies and, most importantly, stay calm/don’t rush.

Advantage of being Indian American: If there has been anything that has given Indian Americas an edge, it would have to be the drive that we have inherently within us. It doesn’t hurt to have parents that want us to succeed and be the best we can be to ourselves and the world, but we all want to make a difference and let it be known.

Favorite Indian Book: The Autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Favorite Non-Indian Book: The Heart of Darkness.
Favorite Indian Movie: One, Two, Three
Favorite Non-Indian Movie: The Pink Panther
Favorite Indian Food: Dhai Puri
Favorite Non-Indian Food: Penne w/Marinara Sauce and Parmesan Cheese

Jay Bharat Patel
Valedictorian, West Boca Raton
GPA: 5.1
Hometown: Boca Raton
College: Boston University
Major: Biology
Parents: Bharat and Manisha Patel
Joshua Jayasinghe
Valedictorian, Boca Raton Preparatory
GPA: 4.10
Hometown: Boca Raton
College: University of Pennsylvania
Major: Nursing
Parents: Kusala Jayasinghe
Manisha Khanal
Valedictorian, Forest Hill High
GPA: 5.01
Hometown: West Palm Beach
College: Georgia Institute of Technology
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Parents’ names: Bhogendra and Sabita Khanal
Adam Pissaris
Salutatoria, Pine Crest School
GPA: 5.0
Hometown: Coral Springs
College: Yale University
Major: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Parents: Basel and Seema Pissaris
Rithi John Chandy
Valedictorian, Deerfield Beach High
GPA: 5.59
Hometown: Coral Springs
College: Duke University
Major: Biological Sciences
Parents: John and Elsy Chandy
Vishal Patel
Valedictorian, Park Vista
GPA: 5.323
Hometown: Lake Worth
College: University of Pennsylvania
Major: Biology and Public Policy
Parents: Gautam and Smita Patel
Eshani Patel
Valedictorian, University School of
Nova Southeastern University
GPA: 4.86
Hometown: Pembroke Pines
College: University of Pennsylvania
Major: Biology
Parents: Vimal and Smeeta Patel
Amrutha Sasikumar
Salutatorian, Coral Springs Charter
GPA: 5.1192
Hometown: Parkland
College: University of Miami
Major: Biology
Parents: Sherly and Sasikumar Punnakkad
Pratheek Nagaraj
Valedictorian, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
GPA: 5.63
Hometown: Coral Springs
College: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Major: Computer Science and Applied Mathematics
Parents: Geetha and Ben Nagaraj
Feyaad Allie
Salutatorian, Coral Springs High
GPA: 5.39
Hometown: Coral Springs
College: Dartmouth College
Major: Political Science
Parents: Ayube and Kathie Allie
Jonathan Abusaid Nassar
Valedictorian, Fort Lauderdale High
GPA: 5.44
Hometown: Plantation
College: University of Florida
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Parents: Carl and Inirida Nassar
Kainat Ikram
Salutatorian, McArthur High School
GPA: 5.14
Hometown: Hollywood
College: Nova Southeastern University
Major: Pre-med
Parents: Waseema Zareen and Ikram Ul Majid
Idris Mazhar Sardharwala
Salutatorian, Plantation High
GPA: 5.39
Hometown: Plantation
College: Columbia University
Major: Electrical Engineering
Parents: Mazhar and Sabera Sardharwala
Ahmed Gaziani
Valedictorian, Miramar High School
GPA: 5.59
Hometown: Pembroke Pines
College: University of Miami
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Parents: Abdul Gaziani and Romana Mote
Maham Boghani
Salutatorian, Everglades High
GPA: 5.23
Hometown: Miramar
College: Florida International University
Major: Accounting
Parents: Nadia Boghani and Mehboob Ali
Rohit Bhandari
Valedictorian, J.P. Taravella
GPA: 5.4
Hometown: Coral Springs
College: Cornell University
Major: Economics
Parents: Mahendra and Pramila Bhandari

Third Time’s A Charm for the Cherians

Valedictorians and Salutatorians, Class of 2012It is every parents’ dream to have their children perform well. But being able to enjoy the success of each of their three children’s achievements has made the Cherians proud parents. With modest roots from India, the Cherians have ensured their guidance, hard work and ambition have brought their three girls through Hills borough IB Valedictorians.

The third of their brood, Cheryl looks to follow her parents and sisters and is set to make a career in medicine. A brief talk with this little genius will tell you that not only is her head screwed on right, her heart is in the right place too. Clear about wanting to be Valedictorian for the longest time after watching her elder sisters make it, Cheryl also worked as hard as she needed to in order to get there, performing better than her siblings eventually.

Big plans await Cheryl. She is keen to begin a six year accelerated medical program, spending two years at Penn State and the remaining four at Jefferson Medical College. She is also eyeing a Ph.D. and participation in medical relief initiatives on a global level. After having witnessed the plight of the underprivileged in Tanzania, Cheryl understands the importance of services in these areas.

Words of wisdom come easy to this girl, and she advises her that you live with no regrets, put yourself before others sometimes, and get enough sleep to function optimally. These are sure to be pearls that many young students will put in practice very soon in the hope of getting where Cheryl has.

Valedictorians and Salutatorians, Class of 2012

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