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By Jennifer Simms

NHS grads have bright future


Photo by Jennifer Simms NHS students Joanna Lui (left) and Mohika Nagpal, who each earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT test, have big plans for college and beyond.

On May 28, the Niwot High School (NHS) class of 2016 received their diplomas, stepped off the stage and launched into their futures. For several of these high-achieving students, their high school experiences and achievements have opened the door to exceptional post-college opportunities.

International Baccalaureate (IB) students Joanna Liu, Mohika Nagpal and Joshua McInerney received a perfect score of 36 on their ACT exams, gaining them entrance to three of the nation’s top universities, while IB student Rohan Baishy’s Boettcher Scholarship will provide him with the opportunity to maximize his education at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Joanna Liu

Joanna Liu fell in love with dance at age five when her mom signed her up for Chinese cultural dancing class. From Chinese dance, she moved to ballet, joined the dance team at NHS for a year, then founded the school’s hip hop club.

“At first I was just worried because I didn’t know if anyone would join, so I made all my friends join with me,” Liu said of the club. This year Liu’s club, which performs at school and community events, had over 30 members.

Liu will attend Stanford University in the fall, and though she plans to study management science and engineering, she was drawn to the Bay Area because of the dance scene. “I knew that’s where dance was and I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” Liu said, adding that she’s also looking forward to staying in Silicon Valley after graduation and partaking in the tech industry.

“At NHS, the incredible teachers and peers have really defined my experience with a lot of support,” Liu said of her time at Niwot High. In addition to being a dancer, Liu served as the president of the National Honor Society and the Economics Club. Outside of school, she is also a competitive pianist, having held the state title for three years.

Joshua Mc Inerney

During his high school career, violinist and tennis player Joshua McInerney proved that students in the school’s IB program do have time to be successful in extracurricular activities. McInerney participated in the all-state orchestra as a junior and placed as a semifinalist in the 4A state tennis tournament this year.

This same balance between academics and activities drew McInerney to UCLA, where he will study computer science. “It seemed to have the perfect combination of academic rigor along with outside activities,” McInerney said of the school. Once there, McInerney looks forward to exploring iconic Los Angeles, meeting the diverse people on campus, and maintaining his music and tennis skills through campus activities.

As McInerney looks back on his time at NHS, he credits the school for playing an important role in his success. “The biggest contribution in terms of education that I got from Niwot was the work ethic that it gave me, and it definitely translated into my ACT score,” McInerney said. “Everyone at NHS is so encouraging and the teachers are amazing at facilitating success in students.”

Mohika Nagpal

Rather than taking an expensive test prep course, Mohika Nagpal studied for the ACT herself. “One of the things I’m really proud of and can say with absolute pride is I prepared myself for this test,” she explained. “I spent weeks by myself using study material I liked. This was a huge sense of accomplishment for me.” As a result of her experience, Nagpal started her own ACT tutoring business, MoMagic, and tutored several fellow students this past year.

Nagpal plans to double major in neuroscience and molecular biology with a minor in entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University this fall, and looks forward to a career in medicine. Though she is proud of her ACT score, she is determined not to let this achievement define her. “If I continue to linger on this one success I’ve had, I’ll never have room for the future successes I will have,” Nagpal said.

In addition to tutoring, Nagpal was part of the forensics team, the IB advisory board, and the Bollywood dance club during her time at NHS. “One of the best things is the attitude the [NHS] teachers have toward the students,” Nagpal stated. “There’s a level of confidence I get from my teachers. They’re open and okay for you to choose your own path.”

Rohan Baishy

Rohan Baishy learned he’d received the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship, which pays tuition, room and board to one of Colorado’s four-year universities, when he got home one evening to find the letter already opened on the table just moments before his parents jumped out and congratulated him.

Courtesy photo NHS student Rohan Baishy received the Boettcher Scholarship and will study at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in the fall.

Baishy feels his diverse high school experiences, from performing as a traditional Indian vocalist to co-founding NHS’s mock trial club, to winning an entrepreneur contest in Las Vegas, made him stand out from the 1,500 scholarship applicants. In addition, he is grateful for the staff at NHS for inspiring him to go far. “The teachers really care about me and how I do in their class. If I’m willing to do the work the possibilities are endless,” Baishy said.

Baishy, who will study in the engineering honors program at CU-Boulder, sees the scholarship as an opportunity to maximize his educational potential. “I can get grants to study abroad to learn more about my industry, and grants for internships and volunteer projects,” Baishy said. “It’s a way to diversify my experiences and get the most out of my education.”

NHS graduate Madison Haussy was also offered a Boettcher Scholarship but declined the honor because she plans to attend Columbia University in New York.

Congratulations to each and every 2016 Niwot High School graduate.


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