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A diverse high school experience
June 06, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff


Meet Patel was a quiet kid who became a very involved leader with an interest in learning how beliefs shape one’s behavior.

The 17-year-old from Redwood City was able to explore his interests in leadership while at Woodside High School. In the fall, he’ll be attending Harvard University. While Patel isn’t quite sure what he’ll study, he does hope to learn more about the way the brain works and how our personal beliefs shape a person’s behavior.

"Meet Patel embodies all of the characteristics and attributes that our educational community attempts to foster in every student. He is kind, civic-minded and disciplined in both his academic and personal pursuits. Meet has served as student body president, and he has added much to the vibrancy of Woodside High School. He will be missed,” said Principal David Reilly.

Patel was born in Fremont but moved to Redwood City at a young age. He enjoyed building things but was a quiet little one with hopes of one day being a doctor. Patel attended Hoover Elementary School through second grade then North Star Academy from third through eighth grade. Transitioning to Woodside was easier than anticipated for Patel since he joined the football team, which meant he met people during practice over the summer months.

Football was a constant for most of Patel’s high school days having played every year except his junior.

"I just like the game,” he said, adding that since the season is over, he already misses it since Patel won’t be playing in college.

During his sophomore year, Patel joined the track team doing sprints in hopes of getting faster. That same year, Patel joined Woodside’s Students Offering Support Program by helping with freshman transition. He continued helping in that capacity through his senior year. Patel also volunteered at Sequoia Hospital during his sophomore and junior years by visiting patients and manning the information desk.

Patel decided to take a break from football his junior year to focus on academics. He took a full load of advanced placement courses and wanted to focus on it. Patel took that time instead to focus on a new challenge — leadership. Patel served as the junior class president. In that capacity, he helped with the juniors who were in charge of the concession stands at games, helping with prom and planning graduation.

Patel continued his leadership senior year as the student body president. The role turned out to require more work than Patel had anticipated but, in the end, it helped him realize not to back down. Before taking on each presidential position, Patel attended summer leadership camps at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Patel also contributed at his temple junior and senior years helping to plan activities for students in the West Coast region.

Patel will be the first to tell you he was surprised to be accepted to Harvard. It was his long shot. Once he got in, Patel had to go. He isn’t sure what he’ll study but be has an interest in psychology and neuroscience.


Woodside’s graduation is 10 a.m. Friday, June 8 at the school, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside.


Great Grads is in its seventh year profiling one graduating senior from each of our local schools. Schools have the option to participate. Those that choose to participate are asked to nominate one student who deserves recognition.


Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: heather@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.




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