Valedictorian Pritam Mukhopadhyaya Both Humble and Studious

Kate Wiggins, Features Editor

   The title of Valedictorian foremost describes a student earning the highest grade point average (GPA), but it also describes an individual who is driven, focused, and strives for academic success. Senior Pritam Mukhopadhyaya has checked all of those boxes to earn the accolade of UC High’s Class of 2021 Valedictorian.

   “I am honored to be the class of 2021 Valedictorian. While I started off high school with the long-term goal of becoming Valedictorian, I realized that it was somehow easier to work towards this goal without it being the first thought in my mind,” shared Mukhopadhyaya. He continued to explain in better terms how this goal of his was reachable: “It was easier to maintain high grades in my classes by focusing on classes or assignments in small chunks, whether it be by year, semester, grading period, or even by day.” 

   To achieve the prospective end of year GPA of 4.83, Mukhopadhyaya has taken a vast number of Advanced Placement (AP), Honors, and Community College courses over the past four years. Having a typical set of courses his freshman year, with the addition of a second math class, Mukhopadhyaya challenged himself all four years of high school. “It was not until sophomore year that I decided to take on the most advanced classes our school had to offer. This meant AP classes, with a few honors and community college courses,” said Mukhopadhyaya. In his freshman year, Mukhopadhyaya started out in the Engineering pathway, but then decided to pursue computer science. Some of Mukhopadhyaya’s courses included AP Computer Science, AP Physics, AP World and U.S. History, and AP English Language, just to name a few.

   Mukhopadhyaya’s extracurriculars and activities outside of school speak to the type of student and character he strived to be. “My main extracurriculars included Robotics [Club], Academic League, and tutoring. I’ve been a part of our school’s Robotics Club since freshman year, and have been the captain for the past two years,” explained Mukhopadhyaya. Mukhopadhyaya shared his impressive participation with the UC San Diego Mentor Assistance Program, “I was given the opportunity to be mentored by a plasma physicist and was able to discuss the applications of his research.” Mukhopadhyaya also helped at the Standley Middle School Homework Academy to help younger students with math and other subjects.

   Mukhopadhyaya is certainly recognized by his peers and teachers for his hard work and academic success. Senior Michael Smith said, “Pritam is one of the most driven people I know. He picks up new subjects easily but still puts in the hard work to achieve his goals. Since middle school, he has inspired me with his unwavering commitment to excel in school. He is a great friend, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of being Valedictorian.” Salutatorian Peter Eckman chimed in, “Pritam is a smart, hard working student with a great sense of humor, and of course, a great friend.”

   AP Computer Science Teacher Philip Huzar had plenty to share about Mukhopadhyaya: “Pritam is the type of student who is the opposite of a procrastinator. He has a lot of initiative, that’s for sure. He knew he was taking an AP Computer Science class with me, and instead of just waiting for the class to see how it goes, he did some studying on his own before he even took the course.” Despite his academic prowess, Mukhopadhyaya maintains a modest and generous character. “He’s very quiet and humble and works really well with other students, and has such great focus,” added Huszar.

   To continue his academic success and studies, Mukhopadhyaya will be attending the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall. He plans on majoring in Computer Science and Engineering through their prestigious programs. Mukhopadhyaya is proud of his accomplishments: “Despite the grind, it feels great to be recognized for my academic achievements and efforts.” With his work ethic, kind character, and vast intelligence, it’s clear that Mukhopadhyaya has a bright and promising future ahead of him as he enters this new chapter of his life.