Name: Karan Verma
School: Hinsdale South High School
Accomplishment: Verma is a senior co-director (along with Christine Zajac) of Hinsdale South's branch of Operation Snowball, an organization that supports Hinsdale South students in forming relationships and having fun without drugs or alcohol. Verma is also involved with Cosmopolitan Club, which is dedicated to bringing ethnical and cultural awareness to the Hinsdale South community, and the Peer Leadership Network, whose members help acclimate freshmen to the school. Verma has also played on the tennis team since his freshman year; he was a captain on the junior varsity team and is now a member of the varsity squad. During his senior year, he has also been an intern at Obama for America.
Key to Awesomeness: Verma has enjoyed focusing on just a few activities throughout high school, and feels that this has helped him give his all to each one. "I've been pretty devoted to a couple of things," he said. "I realized that, in order to make more sense of things, I'm better off doing the things I love." His participation in Operation Snowball throughout high school led to his being named a co-director his senior year, which gave him the opportunity to plan Snowball's fall retreat with Zajac and the two student co-directors from Hinsdale Central. "It's nice to see that over a four-year span, people are recognizing me and what I've done [with Snowball]," he said.
The retreat, which hosted 200 students this fall, was an eye-opener for Verma. "I wasn't looking to gain anything out of it," he said. "I was just looking to facilitate." By the time the retreat ended, though, Verma had gained a new perspective. "I try to go into things without haveing an expectation, [but] it was perfect," he said. "I couldn't have asked for a better retreat. [I gained] a different type of self-awareness, and learned a little more about my skill set, and some of the things I love and have a passion for, like communication."
Another club that has given Verma the chance to plan a big event is Cosmopolitan Club. Each year, the club hosts an Ethnic Fair that offers up stalls featuring different ethnic cuisines, and performances of cultural dances. Verma has been involved in the club since freshman year, and began choreographing cultural dances for the event his sophomore year.
What’s Next: Verma has applied to James Madison University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the State University of New York at Albany, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Missouri, where he was recently accepted. He is almost finished with the application process, and is hoping to "have killer grades and do well" the rest of his senior year. His experiences with public speaking through Snowball and politics through his Obama for America internship have led Verma to wish to study public policy and communications at college.
He still has half a year left at Hinsdale South, and as Verma recently told an interviewer for his class' senior video, he would like to "inspire as many people as I can" in that time. "By having the passion to help people and make a difference in other people's lives [in my future career], I could really find a rewarding aspect in that."