Aavi Gupta is Class of 2020 Valedictorian
Inspired by those who make their mark on the world, Oyster Bay High School Valedictorian Aavi Gupta hopes to be remembered for something great.
“I want to be one of those people who has contributed greatly through their life’s work and contributed to human knowledge,” he said.
Setting his path for that extraordinary goal, Aavi is headed to Princeton University in the fall to study molecular biology/chemistry. He plans to continue on to medical school to become a physician.
“I’ve always had an interest in the sciences; going into this major will give me all the tools I need to be successful in my future career, and I will have chances to take part in different research projects and learn about topics that interest me,” he said. “At Princeton students in their final year write a senior thesis, a year-long research project meant to test the knowledge and skills gained through one’s course of study,” Aavi explained. “Many graduates base their careers on the work they do in this final year, so I would be gaining an incredible amount of knowledge and experience through this,” he said. “There are so many opportunities to do so many different things, and I feel Princeton was the best choice for me.”
Aavi is graduating Oyster Bay High School with a grade-point average of 110.78 and numerous achievements in academics, music and athletics. He attributes his success to his parents. “My mom has been the driving force in pushing me to get my work done,” he said. “Also, once I have my mind set on achieving something, I work as hard as I can to make sure that I get it.”
Throughout his high school career, Aavi has taken advantage of nearly all advanced and/or college level classes, and pursued programs at local universities to hone his interests in science. A leader among his peers, he was president of National Honor Society and Mathletes, treasurer for Business Honor Society and historian for Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society during his senior year. He was also a member of honor societies for mathematics, science, foreign language, and music. Among his awards, Aavi was a winner in the Walt Whitman Barclay’s Association Annual Student Poetry Contest and was awarded for excellence in science and in languages other than English (LOTE), now known as World Languages. He is also proud of having a perfect attendance record.
A two-season athlete, Aavi played varsity tennis and varsity bowling and earned the Oyster Bay High School Varsity Athletic Award three years in a row. He also spent time outside of school volunteering at the Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay.
A trombone player, Aavi has been a member of jazz band and marching band all through high school, a member of symphonic band for three years, and played in wind ensemble this year. One of his greatest high school memories was performing at Carnegie Hall with the Oyster Bay High School Symphonic Band in his sophomore year.
“Performing at Carnegie Hall still feels surreal to me, as if it never happened,” he said. “We had a long performance but it felt as though we were only on stage for a few minutes, and this was a rare, once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.”
Another high point was going on the tenth-grade college trip.
“The college trip was a great deal of fun; I had a chance to learn about different universities with my friends, and it was one of those rare, unique experiences that I appreciate significantly more now,” he said.
Aavi, who attended Theodore Roosevelt Elementary and James H. Vernon schools before Oyster Bay High School, said he is inspired by the work ethic and drive of his teachers.
“The amount of time and effort they spend making their daily lessons and affirming that I understand the lessons is something that I am grateful for,” he said. “I’m also grateful for the work ethic my parents instilled in me as I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for it.”
As he looks to the next chapter of his academic career, Aavi offered several pieces of advice to underclassmen and those entering high school:
“Do everything you want to do in high school. Get the full experience so you don’t regret it after you graduate,” he said. “Your teachers are here to help; don’t think you shouldn’t ask questions because it will help you in the long run. Take different classes, even if they appear to be a challenge for you, you could gain a great amount of insight you would’ve never realized if you had never taken the class,” he continued. “Also, don’t be afraid to try these things because you could discover something you never knew about yourself.”
Aavi also advised underclassmen to try and figure out what career they want to pursue before entering college. “I did plenty of research and attended different programs that taught me about medicine and that proved to me that I wanted to go in that direction,” he said. “Of course, it’s hard to gauge what you want to do for the rest of your life, but you should figure out your interests and your strong suits and find ways that will allow you to explore that industry and see if it is truly what you want to do.”