Priya Shah

Shah, P.

What school will you be attending in the fall? 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Industrial Engineering.

What is the most important thing you learned in high school? 
The most important thing I learned in high school is to take charge of any situation I am facing with a positive attitude. I learned that there is a solution to every problem, I just need to find it. This means never give up and keep trying. If the result of the situation is not what you wanted, then don't worry, and think of what the positive outcome was and learn from the mistakes. One problem is not the end of the world, we are learning along the way so it is okay to make mistakes and get bad grades; that's how you learn. But always remember, when you fall down, get right back up!

What is your favorite high school memory? 
My favorite high school memory was freshmen orientation my junior and senior year. Being a peer leader, I was able to welcome the freshmen into high school and be one of the first to show them what high school is all about. I loved being able to introduce myself to them and let them know that I would be there for them if they needed help adjusting to the new environment. I was able to be a role model and show that high school is about teamwork and developing a bond with your classmates and teachers.

What was your favorite class or learning experience? 
Being in the Bartlett STEM Academy, I had many classes outside of a traditional classroom setting where it was more hands-on building and completing projects. Those classes were my favorite. Through those classes, I was able to develop leadership, project management, teamwork, and technical engineering skills that I will benefit from in the future. Not only did I learn, but I also formed some amazing bonds with my teachers and I am going to miss them very much.

Share your best advice for incoming freshmen. 
The motto that I live by is that everything happens for a reason, so my advice for incoming freshmen is to keep your head held high in every situation and think positively. Sometimes you may have to learn the hard way, but that's okay. You will be faced with many challenges and difficulties, but the way you act and react shows your true colors. More than being a good student, it is important to be a good person who respects others and shows gratitude towards those who have helped you along the way; never forget that.

What or who do you account for your academic success and ranking in the top 2 percent of your senior class? 
I owe my academic success to my parents and teachers. My parents have always been my biggest support system and I know they always will be. They have always encouraged me to do my best and supported me in making my own path. I am very lucky to have parents who encouraged me, but never pressured me to have good grades and that is probably the reason I kept working hard: to make my parents proud and have a sense of accomplishment for myself.

I am grateful for every single teacher I have had in the past 12 years. I have learned something new from every teacher, not only about schoolwork, but also life. Education is to draw out the qualities from within and my teachers have put in so much work to help me figure out who I am. They have supported me every day and made me want to do well so that they know that their hard work was worth it.

What are you learning about yourself and the world as we collectively face this global pandemic?
This global pandemic has made me believe even more that everything happens for a reason. Due to the lockdowns, so many parts of the world have become less polluted and the animals have gotten a chance to breathe fresh air (literally.) We all are getting time to spend with our families, which before this pandemic, was very difficult to do because of our busy schedules. I feel that as a world, we are learning to slow down and enjoy the small things in life and to not take anything for granted. We will come out of this pandemic with a world changed for the better.