Sunday 25 August 2019
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Stellar is typically used to reference the bright, beautiful stars in
the sky, but it may also refer to one having the qualities of a star.
Synonyms include outstanding, excellent and superb.

Nikhil Patel, an 18-year old senior at Jenkins High School, is easily
characterized by these very impressive and distinct qualities.

Nikhil is part of the school’s engineering program. He has been a
student there for about three years after he and his family relocated
to the area from Mississippi, where he spent a good deal of his life.
Nikhil’s interest in engineering surfaced just before high school. In
fact, Nikhil had long wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy or
pediatrics. However, in 8th grade, a robotics team visited Nikhil’s
middle school in Mississippi. He was intrigued by all they did and
thought it was quite “cool.” Following their incredibly memorable
robotics display, Nikhil was certain of his new quest.

After learning that his family was moving to the local area, Nikhil
diligently researched the various high schools in the area to find out
what each had to offer. He knew that he wanted to attend a school that
specialized in engineering. He mentions, “When I moved here, I wanted
to go to a school with a robotics team; I found that Jenkins had a
robotics team.” After starting at Jenkins, Nikhil joined the robotics
team right away. Nikhil’s career path is mechanical engineering. He
explains that it is very expansive, allowing for countless career
opportunities in the field. He comments that he “likes the hands-on
involvement with it.” He enjoys the many dynamics, excitement and
creativity associated with it. Regarding it as a career, he suggests,
“You’re not doing paperwork all day.” He later notes, “You’re actually
doing something physically, that’s fun to do.” Nikhil is looking
forward to attending Georgia Tech after high school, a school
nationally and internationally recognized for its engineering program.
Yes, he’s going to be a Yellow Jacket. More so, he is tremendously
excited about their robotics team, the Robojackets, which he plans to
join, of course.

Surely, Nikhil enjoys his engineering endeavors, but he hasn’t given
up on his childhood aspirations of doing something in the medical
field. This phenomenal young man aspires to, one day, combine his
engineering expertise with medical technology. He’d like to design
robots that will perform advanced medical procedures and surgeries.
Nikhil understands that the medical field is constantly evolving each
and every day. Many activities and procedures of old are becoming
somewhat obsolete as medical professionals find new ways to do things
even more efficiently and effectively. With that said, it’s no
surprise that Nikhil’s favorite subjects have been math and science,
which he does very well in. Actually, he has done very well in all his
courses over his lifetime.

Obviously, Jenkins High School’s Engineering Program is very
noteworthy, having a high standard for excellence. Nonetheless, Nikhil
not only gained admittance in the specialty program, he has been able
to perform at an impressively high level over the years. He’s
definitely deemed as an elite individual by many who know him.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that he was bestowed the highest
distinction given to an upcoming graduate—something that he has worked
very hard for. With a phenomenal 4.0 grade point average, he is the
Herschel V. Jenkins 2014-15 Valedictorian…what an honor!

That’s not all! Aside from academic excellence and planning for a
wonderful future, Nikhil still finds time to participate in numerous
activities within his school. In addition to the robotics team, Nikhil
is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Technology
Student Association, Science Olympiad and Sons of Sophistication.
Nikhil has been able to give back to the community through community
service activities in several organizations. He has even been part of
groups raising awareness about the field of engineering, particularly
to girls. The goal is to encourage more girls to pursue the
engineering field of study.

It’s believed that every extraordinary student has been privileged to
have at least one extraordinary teacher in their lives. Nikhil recalls
a certain middle school math teacher, Ms. Bland, who consistently
motivated him and showed that she cared. He tells that she even
checked on him when he left middle school. He recalls, “She kept an
eye on me.”

It’s often said that an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Nikhil
graciously accredits his family members with being his biggest
advocates and role models. He points out, “They’ve always been there
to support me no matter what I choose; they’ll back me up, whatever I
choose, 100%.” He goes on to add, “Anything I want, they’ll try to do
it.” They are very proud of him. He even smiles as he mentions that
his dad, Pradeep, already has a celebration poster made up for his
graduation. As for his mom, Divya, she’s very delighted to have always
had such a super scholar as her son. Even his 10-year-old little
sister, Nidhi, is really pleased with her big brother and wouldn’t
trade him for the world. They’re not the only ones with delightful and
heartwarming thoughts of Nikhil. His grandfather, Mohan Patel, and
grandmother, Manu Patel, couldn’t be more pleased with their grandson.
Regarding his family’s feeling about all his achievements, Nikhil
asserts, “They’re all happy.” He has truly had a great support system
through the years.

Nikhil also has some good advice for the younger generation. He
states, “Don’t give up; just keep trying.” However, he says, “Don’t
envelop yourself in your work completely; have that spare time to
where your mind is fresh.” He went on to comment, “Make sure to have
fun once and a while; it’s good to keep that balance.” Nikhil himself
enjoys his free time. “I’m a big sports fan; I like watching sports,”
he points out. Nikhil likes to play tennis on occasion. He actually
played tennis during his freshman year in high school.

Nikhil is not only extremely intelligent but also appears to be very
level-headed, respectful and kind. Furthermore, while accomplishing
such noteworthy achievements and encompassing many other exemplary
attributes, Nikhil is bound to have a bright future. Though Nikhil
understands that he has an exemplary amount of accomplishments, he
notes,  “It’s small steps to an even bigger goal later in life.” It’s
apparent that Nikhil is quite a stellar young man. It’s also evident
that he will continue to reach for the stars.

Story by KATRICE

Photos by MONICA


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