This is the face of an extraordinary teen
The long list of accomplishments by Clear Lake senior Lavanya Dharmarajan is enough to inspire anyone who knows her.
Sixteen-year old Dharmarajan has been a member of Girl Scouts for 10 years, a volunteer at a local hospital, an elementary school tutor, an orphanage worker in India, vice president of a mock trial team, a historian, and an Indian family health care volunteer.
She also belongs to three National Honor Societies.
Most recently, Dharmarajan was recognized as a Student Leader by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.
Dharmarajan said she was surprised" when she found out she was selected because the competition is tough."
To qualify, Student Leaders must be enrolled as high school juniors or seniors at the time of the application and must demonstrate academic excellence, proven leadership and a commitment to community service.
The program is in its sixth year.
About the program
Being selected allowed Dharmarajan to participate in an all-expenses-paid week-long leadership summit in Washington, D.C., in summer 2009, where she met fellow leaders from across the United States and the United Kingdom.
She also completed a paid internship at J.R. Harris Elementary School where she supervised and tutored summer camp students in math and English.
She worked at the central office of Communities in Schools for Houston and served in the field operations department checking monthly reports.
At the central office she observed the workings of a non-profit organization.
Yet Dharmarajan said it was she who was inspired by her students.
One girl I tutored in English especially stays with me for her determination and interest," Dharmarajan said.
She was struggling with reading the alphabet and recognizing basic words though her classmates were much ahead of her.
She told me she was not able to practice at home because she didn't have English books or anyone to help her. Her determination to learn was touching."
Dharmarajan credits her parents, Raja (father) and Chitra Dharmarajan (mother), and her 20-year-old sister, Sunanda, for her latest accomplishment.
My family has been very supportive of my academic and extracurricular efforts," Dharmarajan said.
My parents encouraged me to apply for the Bank of America program, and were positive the whole time."
Dharmarajan said he intends to do more community service in the future while pursuing a law degree.
It is rewarding when my volunteer work benefits or makes a significant impact on another person," Dharmarajan said.
Through my internship, I was able to help students improve their English and reading skills, which was rewarding especially since many children did not have adequate help at home to keep up with their classmates."
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