Thirst for Knowledge: 2021-22 Graduating Class Valedictorian Named

by Claire Tweedie, Editor in Chief

After months of sitting in front of his computer screen, Ishaan Javali’s junior year acclimated him to a new era of virtual learning, culminating in this congratulatory moment. The transcript that lays before him appears unassuming, but the No. 1 rank is proudly displayed, filling him with feelings of elation and pride. While the rank he looks upon may only convey his junior year abilities, there are no doubts in his mind that he’ll carry it through the rest of high school. Now, Javali has officially been granted the title of the 2021-22 graduating class valedictorian, proving that all of his hard work paid off. 

“This is just something that I’m very grateful for because this is a great school with lots of smart people,” Javali said. “I think at the end of the day I just wanted to learn as much as I could and I think I’ve been able to achieve that.”

The past four years of his life have been filled with dedication and curiosity. Of the 19 AP classes he took, some of his favorites included AP art history, AP physics and AP biology, which he took during his sophomore year. AP Biology teacher and research sponsor Julie Baker saw this first hand, citing his ability to set and attain his goals as one of many reasons he is now valedictorian.

“When it comes to learning new material, he’ll always be the one in the class to ask questions for clarification,” Baker said. “You’d give this great explanation about what was going to happen or take place and you thought you did a great job, then he’d come up with 10 more questions of things you didn’t even think of. I think in terms of going above and beyond, in the classroom and with his research, he is always willing to put in the work and effort.”

Grades aren’t all that earned Javali the title, as his various involvement in extracurricular and leadership roles helped enhance his school experience. Javali is president of the computer science club, an officer of the math club, and the vice president of the science fair organization. This gives him a community of students outside of the classroom and an appreciation for the teachers that run them.

The club is what its leaders make it,” computer science teacher Ann Horton said. “He went so far beyond anything anyone has done with the club in the past. I’ve had smart students before. I haven’t had such a smart student that was also a great organizer, leader and supporter of others.”

In his freshman year, he took the online Best of Texas computer science test and was the highest-scoring freshman in the state. In his sophomore year, he qualified for the state science fair after help from Baker during scientific research and design, where he developed the skills to advance his project. For Horton, he says she always encouraged him in the world of computer science, ensuring he felt accepted in the club as a sophomore amidst juniors and seniors and providing him with opportunities for growth. Javali says the greatest support system though has been his family, offering him reassurance during his challenges while still being his biggest cheerleaders.

I will always be grateful that I got to know Ishaan,” Horton said. “[He has] brains, compassion, organization and perseverance while staying humble and time to help others along the way in a supportive way that boosts that person’s self-esteem. Many people have some of these skills, few have so many.”

Javali is now committed to Princeton University as a computer science major, though he’s open to any educational routes dealing with finance, math and statistics. For underclassmen and any future valedictorians, he advises they do what they love and take high school as a chance to explore interests while broadening their horizons. 

“I’m going to leave this school knowing I have a second home here,” Javali said. “I can always come back here to find great people doing great things and an amazing network of teachers who I’ve gotten to know over the years. The memories I’ve formed here are truly unique and I already know I’ll be looking back on them a couple years from now.”