Spotlight on: Senior Salutatorian Hersh Prakash

Spotlight on: Senior Salutatorian Hersh Prakash

Hersh Prakash

Sally-Emma Calandroni, Managing Editor

Imagine working hard for four years and the years leading up to it, putting endless hours of time, dedication, and passion to become the top of your class, to be able to walk across the stage at graduation, and give an awe-inspiring speech to peers you’ve grown as a person with, only to have it ripped from you. For our 2020 senior class, and all graduating classes around the world, this is a reality.

Salutatorian, Hersh Prakash, has worked hard his entire life to be at the top. He’s graduating high school with an AICE diploma with merit, at the top 1% in the class for the past 3 years, Pathfinders scholarship nominee for academic excellence, Gold biliteracy seal, Spanish, Hindi, English, and many other achievements under his belt.

With all of his hard work, he’s going on to further his academic career at the University of Florida and plans to graduate with his master’s degree within 4 years due to all the classes he took in high school.

Being such a successful student has opened many opportunities for Hersh in the future, but despite how focused he is on his academics, he acknowledges that it isn’t everything.

“If you just have academics, that’s not going to get you anywhere in life, you have to be a multidimensional, well-rounded person, and that’s what’s going to open opportunities for you. So yes, my academics have opened a big path for me, I’m a

, I can always bring that up in my resume, but after the resume, it’s up to you. Life isn’t academics, it’s all up to you.”

Keeping up for four years can be hard for most students, so when asking Hersh what inspires and motivates him to succeed, this is what he had to say.

“There are kids across the world that don’t have the opportunities that we have, we have the most amazing blessing to live in Wellington Florida, this is something that I never take for granted. I think about kids in less fortunate countries wake up, don’t know what they’re doing, don’t know what they’re going to eat, don’t know where they’re going to drink, how to support their family, and they still make it out, go to the best colleges, go to have the best careers, become successful. So, if they can do that, all that hardship, everything that’s going on in their life, what does it say about us if we don’t become successful? So that’s always what I think and I was blessed with so many things, amazing friends and amazing family, you don’t want to just take that for granted because you’re only granted one life on this earth, so I don’t want to waste it, I want to maximize my potential. I don’t know where that would get me but I just want to make sure I don’t leave anything on the table, everything. I want to look back when I’m on my deathbed, I have every single ounce of effort that I had, and then I’ll be good. Other kids, they don’t get the same opportunities that we have. I’ve been to India a couple times, and I’ve seen stuff that I wouldn’t believe. How are they living like that? That put a fire in me even more, like common Hersh you got all these things and you can’t even pass this AP Science test?”

Through his hard work, Hersh has earned many achievements,

“I didn’t know I would be getting all these achievements. If I’m going to do something I’m going to aim for the absolute top, anything that I do. Anything that takes time worth doing, is a job worth doing the best. If you give the 100% authentic you, nobody can beat you.”

A lot of effort and dedication went into his education. Some would call sacrifices, to get where he is, but for Hersh, competing comes naturally to him.

“I won’t say I had to make any sacrifices because this is all I know how to do. We all have 24 hours; if I’m going to be a student might as well be the best student. If I’m going to walk my dog might as well be the best dog walker, right? Being busy means you’re doing more than somebody else is, so I never thought of it as a sacrifice.”

All students, regardless of grade level, are experiencing the shift in curriculum and learning style, and it can be hard to adjust to, for both teachers and students.

“Our teachers are doing a wonderful job because they’re coming up with really innovative ideas so that we still get the education. The teachers are really thoughtful, they’re adjusting with how we are; it was an easy transition. The transition has been easy, but the content isn’t the same. You don’t get the same experience that you’ve had. Some kids aren’t asking questions like how you would in class. Sometimes the class is fully quiet, and the teacher asks a question, and the class goes silent… If we were in a classroom, I know somebody’s answering the question, so that’s one big difference. So that’s one thing I don’t like about the transition, it’s less involved.”

Hersh Prakash

Along with the semi-frustrating change of pace and setting, there’s also the experience of being in a school with so many other people that all high schoolers are missing.

“The biggest thing I miss about being in school, what I really took for granted is just walking the hallways, and seeing my friends that are walking by, and seeing my teachers, and the atmosphere of being in school, being around that community of people that have shared interests that want to do well in school. The atmosphere was so important. It was such a fun time now that I’m looking back, walking down the hallway smiling. I’ll never get that back, I really miss that, the sense of connection with everybody else. The sense of connection that you have when you’re in school, everybody is waking up at 7;30 to go to school; 2000 kids. I miss my friends, I miss my drive to school every morning, there’s a lot of things I will never get back, so I think I took it for granted.”

With all the memories we are missing out on a daily basis, it’s nice to reflect on favorite memories we’ve already had while we were still in high school.

“My favorite memory would have to be my sister’s graduation, 100%. Because when I went, I saw the valedictorian and the salutatorian giving speeches, and I sat there and I got goosebumps. Everybody, 4000 people stopped talking, stopped everything they were doing, but one kid. At that moment, I was sitting there, I knew I was going to be on that stage. Also, I got to see my sister graduate which was pretty cool. I saw something I really wanted at my sister’s graduation, something I could chase. I’ll always remember sitting there, watching my sister graduate, and knowing that I have something to look forward to, a goal to achieve.”

After all is said and done, there’s one final message he wanted to leave the future incoming classes coming to Wellington High School,

“A message I want to leave is that everybody is in their own bubble. If you want to do something, do it, nobody remembers. You always think about what ‘that’ person is thinking, ‘that person’s looking at me’. All these thoughts in your head, but in reality, it’s just you. Nobody remembers what happened freshman year, sophomore year, junior year, senior year, the only person that will remember is you.”

“Whatever you want to do in high school, go out and try to do it, no excuses, don’t think about outside opinions, whatever you want to do, go out and do it. Whatever it is in high school; sports, valedictorian, you want to be the best band player, you want to be the best artist, go out and do it. Ask for help from your teachers, help from your coaches, and you’ll achieve what you want in High School. As long as you block out all the outside noise and remember that nobody will remember anything so go out and try it.”