By TARA JENNINGS, Staff Writer
June 13, 2019
photo courtesy of Tara Jennings
As this year’s seniors prepare to leave NBTHS and begin the next chapter of their lives, one student stands out above the rest: Kunal Bhatt, the Valedictorian for the Class of 2019. Being the Valedictorian is an immense honor that goes to the student in the class with the highest grade point average, but as he reflects upon his time at NBTHS, Bhatt is focused on more than just his academic achievements: he is thinking about everything he has learned, both in the classroom and outside of it, as well as everything he hopes to achieve in the future.
Bhatt, who will be attending Carnegie Mellon University to study computer science in the fall, has been greatly involved in the NBTHS community over the last four years. In addition to his success in the classroom, he was part of the high school orchestra, the Meditarrasian Club (best known for its annual Innovasian show), Model United Nations, and the Waksman Research Club. One of Bhatt’s favorite memories at NBTHS actually comes from his involvement in the music department, which puts on a concert during lunch in the Commons right before the holidays every year. “It always put the whole school in a better mood and tied everyone together right before the holidays, which I love,” Bhatt explained.
Bhatt also enjoyed getting to meet lots of new people at NBTHS, which is something he says he would recommend to younger students. “Just try to meet as many people as possible,” he said, explaining that there are so many people with different talents at the high school (whether that be art, music, or sports) and that you only have four years to meet as many as you can. Bhatt hopes to continue meeting new people in college next year, but he doesn’t plan on committing himself to any given career or lifestyle just yet. Instead, he is choosing to leave as many doors open for after college as possible. “I just want to take advantage of my opportunities and take in everything that I can,” he said.
While Bhatt has spent a lot of time thinking about the future recently, he has also given some thought to his experience at NBTHS. He admits that he never really set out to earn the honor of being Valedictorian, but that it was rather just something that seemed to come along with the pursuit of his goals. “I just did what I loved and tried to learn as much as I could,” he stated. That being said, Bhatt did face struggles during his time in the high school; he admits that he struggled to learn to accept personal failure, both in the classroom and outside of it. “I can be very narrow-minded,” he explained, adding that, while everyone always emphasizes the importance of learning from failure, actually learning to do so was very difficult for him.
Bhatt also acknowledges that academics and other responsibilities sometimes took too big a precedent during his high school career. When asked about the advice he would give to himself as a freshman, he said that he would emphasize the importance of having fun; while he acknowledged that high schoolers might have more responsibility than they used to, he also said that it’s important to remember that they aren’t adults yet. “Don’t be too serious or so hard on yourself,” he emphasized; despite this, Bhatt said he did not have any regrets during the past four years, and that he enjoyed his time at NBTHS.
Despite the ups and downs Bhatt had during his high school experience, he has great hope for the future. In college, he hopes to grow more as a person, become more self-sufficient, and continue to meet great people. While his plans for a profession are not yet solidified, he hopes that, ten years from now, he will be exploring the world with some of these people, seeing as much as he can and learning new things in the process. With a long history of academic achievement and community involvement, Bhatt has all the tools he needs to achieve this lifestyle, and NBTHS looks forward to seeing what he does after graduating as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2019.