Every year, fewer than 250 high school students across the country are selected as U.S Presidential Scholars, one of the most prestigious academic honors available. From the state of Illinois in 2022, five graduating seniors were chosen as Presidential Scholars, four were from Naperville and three were from Waubonsie Valley High School. In addition to excelling in the classroom and holding leadership positions in school clubs and in the community, Rishi Patel, Piya Shah and Jaisnav Rajesh were all varsity athletes in their time at Waubonsie.
Being a student athlete is challenging enough on its own, but these three Warriors are heavily involved throughout the school and community in a variety of fields.
Rishi Patel was a member of the Warriors boys water polo team, which just completed one of the most successful seasons in program history and broke the school record for most wins in a season. He also served as the Co-President of the Waubonsie chapter of Business Professionals of America with Piya Shah, and is an executive board member of Model U.N. and a member of Varsity Science Olympiad. Finding out he and two other classmates had been named Presidential Scholars earlier this spring was a surreal experience.
In addition to serving as the Co-President of the BPA, Piya Shah was also a member of the Environmental Club, the Girls Who Code and the Varsity dance team.
Jaisnav Rajesh was a high jumper for the Waubonsie Valley track and field team. One of the best jumpers in the area, Rajesh won the DVC indoor high jump championship, and set a new PR while finishing second at the DVC outdoor at 6’5 feet.
It’s a huge challenge to fit so much work into the daily schedule, but the experiences have been incredibly rewarding.
What makes the honor of being named Presidential Scholars so special for these three, is not just getting to share this rare distinction with fellow Waubonsie Valley students, but with longtime friends who have known each other since preschool.
While these three recent grads have accomplished so much in their time at Waubonsie, they are excited for the next step. Shah will be heading out west to study Computer Science and Business at Cal-Berkley, and will continue to dance as a member of the schools Bollywood team. Patel is in the University of Illinois Medical Scholars program where he will be studying economics as an undergrad before entering the U of I medical school. Rajesh is off to Princeton where he will study Computer Science and Finance and plans to compete as a walk on for the Tigers Track and Field team.
A truly inspiring group of athletes who can showcase for future students just how much can be achieved throughout a high school career.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.