Hillsborough Valedictorian: Balance Reaps Success
Shreehari Raghavan seeks to build on academic, debate, musical and community experiences.
For Hillsborough High School Class of 2012 Valedictorian Shreehari Raghavan, a desire for balance has been an underlying factor in his academic and personal successes.
During his high school years, Raghavan said he steered away from what he described as “a completely academically oriented mindset,” instead immersing himself in other activities inside and outside the HHS experience.
A member of the National Honor Society and the French Honor Society, Raghavan spent two years as captain of the table tennis team (two years). He speaks proudly of the fact that he, along with a friend, started a politics club at the school and that it now boasts 30 to 35 members.
“It was a good start,” he smiled.
As an active member of the debate team, Raghavan has participated in the Princeton Model Congress and the Duke Model Congress. In addition to honing his communication skills, it also provided Raghavan with the opportunity to get to know a lot of different people and expand his horizons.
His experiences contributed to his desire to do something that involved both public speaking and technical matters. That is why he is targeting a career in finance, with a possible focus on hedge fund management.
Toward that goal, Raghavan will attend the University of Pennsylvania. He chose that school from the 13 colleges he applied to because of a combination of factors—a curriculum that will allow him to earn degrees in both economics and computer science, the fact that it is the home of the prestigious Wharton School of Business, and its location, he explained.
The valedictorian has also volunteered at Somerset Assisted Living, helping to serve meals, play bingo and entertain residents with his piano playing.
In fact, much of his time outside of the classroom is spent in the world of music, specifically the complex Indian classical music known as Carnatic. A vocalist and pianist, he hopes to perform in concerts this summer in India “on the path to becoming an actual artist," he said.
For Raghavan, Carnatic music is a “life interest. It gives me everything I need and keeps me balanced throughout.”
He has used his music to help raise funds as United States director of VYSWO, a charity to help village youths in India.
“I want my music to be dedicated to them,” Raghavan said.
As he reflected on his high school years, Raghavan recalled several individuals who were instrumental roles in his development. In addition to parents, he commended HHS guidance counselor Robin Kenney for being “someone I could always talk to about anything. She never got tired of it. She’s amazing.”
He hopes his valedictory remarks will walk “a fine line between lofty thoughts and not sounding like John Hancock, too.”
His advice to future graduates? “Balance yourself; don’t kill yourself. The most successful people in the world are those open to diversity. Don’t be afraid to communicate to others about your problems.”
As for his own future, Raghavan remarked, “I want to be a good student, continue the activities I’ve enjoyed over the years, grow as a person and contribute positively to my community through volunteering.”
In other words, he wants to maintain that all-important sense of balance.