Shining Superstars of Pres

Kate Linehan, Reporter

When many people think of superstars they may picture Beyonce, Leonardo diCaprio or other well known Hollywood stars, but at Pres we do not have to scroll through Twitter or read People Magazine to learn about the lives of real superstars, we can simply look around our own campus!

Sonia Varandani, Chloe Isleta and Maya Varma are just a few of the superstars at Pres who The Voice interviewed to get an inside look on their accomplishments.

Sonia Varandani:

Senior Sonia Varandani was chosen as one of Pres’s superstars because of her amazing academic success and drive to succeed. Varandani has definitely taken enough AP’s to keep her up at night; by the end of her four years here she will have taken a grand total of 9 AP classes and 10 AP tests.

But wait, how could she have taken 10 AP tests, but only 9 AP classes? Varandani took the AP Chem test just by studying on her own and ended up passing the exam. She says, “Honestly, I did not want to take the AP Chem test. My parents told me to take it, which I was not happy about at all, but noPres superstars- Varandani low resw I am glad I took it because it helped me to see just how much I love chem.”

Varandani thrives in the sciences, which is by far her favorite subject. She especially loves doing labs because she is interested in observing the world around her and always finding the real world application of a problem. When asked what was the most challenging class she has taken at Pres, she says, “Definitely Ceramics because I cannot make something substantial with my hands. My ceramic pieces always ended up looking like a nightmare, so therefore I had to put a lot of time and effort into all my projects.”

Varandani is driven to succeed in her classes, despite how challenging they may seem, and this is proven through her hopes of double majoring in Psychology and Chemistry, leading her towards the pre-med route. “I hope that studying Chemistry and Psychology will give me the ability to become the qualified physician I want to become,” says Varandani.

Although Varandani is still patiently waiting to hear back from a majority of colleges that she has applied to, she is certain that she will be leaving California and discovering new areas of the U.S. She wants to grasp the opportunity to live where she can experience snow as well as the beach in the same area and for her, the place that meets this criteria is the East Coast.

The most influential teacher Varandani has had at Pres is Mr. Wang. She says, “He helped me prepare for the AP Chem exam and whenever I came in with a question he would stop everything he was doing to help me. I am so thankful that he made me so passionate about Chemistry. I would not have been able to pass the exam without his help.”

Chloe Isleta:

Junior Chloe Isleta was chosen as one of the superstars at Pres because she has a talent for swimming and is currently ranked fourth out of all the swimmers in California! Isleta not only makes a big splash in the pool, but also is admired for her commitment to school work and ability to balance her activities.

Isleta began taking swim lessons at age three and officially joined a swim team at age pres superstars- Isleta_ low ressix. “I realized I loved the sport as soon as I joined. I really enjoyed to race and started to want to be in the water whenever I could.” Isleta is a committed swimmer who is a clear of example of the phrase practice makes perfect, because she has always taken advantage of every opportunity to practice and improve.

Isleta has been racing in the Junior Olympics since she was seven years old. She says, “At my first Junior Olympics, I was the youngest there, everyone was big nine- and ten- year-olds and I was the little seven-year-old.”

Once Isleta started swimming at these higher level meets, such as Junior Nationals, she began to realize how serious swimming was becoming to her. She says, “The most memorable race I have swum in is the 400 IM long course when I was eleven years old. This is because my goal was to simply swim my best and take off some time, but instead I unknowingly broke the pacific record!”

Success does not come without hard work and that is no exception for Isleta. “It has been very tiring and difficult for me to balance swimming and school work. Unfortunately, I live far away from Pres and the pool I swim at, so in order to get all my homework done I have to try and finish as much as I can at school.”

Isleta definitely sees swimming in her near and far off future. For this year, her goal is to achieve the Olympic Trial cut times for the 200 IM 100 back and 400 IM. In regards to her future in college, Isleta says, “I am considering swimming in college and I really want to get a scholarship for swimming because I enjoy the sport so much and it would be amazing to get a scholarship for something I love to to do.”

Maya Varma:

Most Pres students know Junior Maya Varma for her continuous victory at almost all the math contests we hold here at Pres, but they might not know about her invention of a smartphone based spirometer or the reasons behind her love for math. Varma has been chosen as one of Pres superstars because of her continuous success in and out of the classroom.

Varma not only succeeds at math, but also has a passion for the subject. She says, “Math is my favorite    subject because IPres Superstars- Varma low res enjoy problem solving and applying concepts to the real  world.” Varma has always felt this way about math and estimates that she  has won around 20 math competitions in and out of Pres, which she has  been competing in since the second grade.

A major accomplishment that Varma has made outside of school is her  creation of a smartphone-based spirometer that can measure pulmonary  function and diagnose Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),  an illness that has been ranked as the third most common cause of death  worldwide.

“COPD is often undiagnosed in individuals, with only about 25% of  patients seeking treatment,” she says. “One cause of this is the cost of  medical equipment which can be about $4000. The device I have created costs only about $35, and can easily be used by a patient in their own home. They can simply breathe through the mouthpiece of the device and view results on a corresponding Android app that will display diagnostic data. I am currently working on expanding the project to diagnose other respiratory illnesses as well.”

Varma is definitely on a path of innovation to better the world we live in. She is hoping to go to an Ivy League College after she graduates Pres and would love to pursue a double major in engineering and biology.