Top graduates: Sandhya Kumar - Mayo High School
Sandhya Kumar isn’t waiting to graduate college before getting involved in public policy. She didn’t even wait until she was done with high school.
Kumar worked as a member of the Rochester-Olmsted Youth Commission, which then gave her the opportunity to attend the National League of Cities meeting in Washington, D.C. where she joined the National League of Cities’ Youth, Education, and Families Council, National Merit as a youth member.
“I think a lot of youth issues get overlooked because youth don’t have a big seat at the table,” Kumar said. “Youth should be a part of the government and youth should have a say.”
Kumar helped established the Mayo High School Global Affairs Club. For the club’s first year, one of two Mayo High School teams placed third in the regional competition. This year, three Mayo teams finished in the top 10 in regional competition, with Kumar’s team finishing first and moving on to national competition in Washington, D.C.
Kumar said she’s confident the team will be under good leadership as she prepares to graduate.
“We chose some good captains,” she said, adding that the team coach, history teacher Chris Schmitz, is willing to continue in his role. The club’s success in its short history will likely draw other talented students, Kumar added.
“I think that people seeing us go to nationals and what we have gotten from it will make people interested in it,” she said.
Kumar also watched interest and success of the school speech club grow in her time there.
She will continue to pursue her interest and involvement in global affairs at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Getting accepted at the prestigious school was a dream come true, she said.
“It was definitely very unexpected,” she said. “It always felt like I was kind of reaching.”
She plans to study global affairs and history of science, medicine, and public health.
Kumar said she feels grateful for the support from teachers, mentors and her family for their assistance to submitting her successful application to Yale.
“It definitely wasn’t just a ‘me’ thing,” she said.
For now, Kumar said she plans to relax and spend time with friends before they move on as well.
“I really want to relax right now and spend some time with friends and family and take a breather and try not to take things for granted,” she said.