Meet Briarcliff 2012 Co-Salutatorian Chetan Khanna

Khanna is busy prepping for graduation and his big move to Pennsylvania for college in the fall.

Co-Salutatorian Chetan Khanna may be getting ready to graduate at the top of his class, but he has also made a conscious effort throughout his high school career to be an well-rounded student and active community member.

During his four years at BHS, Khanna's extracurricular involvement has included acting as: secretary of the Chemistry Club, secretary and soloist in a capaella group Cliffnotes, an actor and singer in the high school musicals, jv and varsity tennis, a member of the National Honor Society, secretary of the Math Honor Society and script editor for the Drama Club.

The 17-year-old has also been involved in a science research internship since March of last year and has worked as a volunteer and counselor at community organizations.

Khanna received both from the high school this year, and has previously been recognized for his GPA, English skills and PSAT score that landed him in the 99th percentile.

In the fall, Khanna plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he will pursue a degree in biological basis of behavior.

Patch: How are you feeling with graduation drawing so close?

CK: With graduation right at my feet, I am feeling—like most people—bittersweet. I am excited to move on to new and exciting experiences in college, but I’ll miss my comfortable niche, here in Briarcliff. I am also a tad overwhelmed because I have so many things to close up before I graduate and innumerable things to get done for college.

PatchHas it been a goal of yours to be at the top of your class? How did your academic goals affect your HS career?

CK: As a freshman, it was my dream to be on the top of my class. But as I progressed through high school and took up singing, tennis, theater and mindfulness—and started to loosen up a little—I didn’t let that hope consume me. After a while, I let my high school goals outside of academia drive, shape and improve my academic ones.

PatchCan you highlight some of your favorite memories or moments from high school?

CK: Some of my best times were on stage or singing. I’ll always remember singing my heart out at concerts for Cliffnotes and being Dr. Stockman for the fall drama. Then there’s the forever memorable prank I pulled on my classmate, Emma Bramson, in chemistry. My research in mindfulness has become an integral part of how I live and is a topic I hope to pursue in the future. And, of course, the friends and staff here at Briarcliff are amazing. I’d be completely useless without them.

PatchWas there a particular class or teacher that helped shape your post-graduation plans, interests or goals?

CK: AP English Language and Composition was a very inspiring class, and has sparked my interest in English, public speaking and writing. I hope to adapt those skills into whatever I end up doing. Ms. Mandel, who taught that class, has been an amazing role model and helped me pursue my passion in theater, which I hope to continue as a hobby for the rest of my life.

PatchIs there anything you would do differently if you were to go through high school again?

CK: I am happy with where I am right now. These four years were nowhere near perfect, but life never is. So while there are regrets, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

Patch: What are your post-graduation plans (summer, college, etc.)?

CK: This summer I will be heading to Hindu Heritage Summer Camp for my eighth year, this year as a head counselor. After those three weeks, I will be on my way to India for my cousin’s wedding. Then I will be back home continuing my internship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine doing radiation oncology research. In college, I hope to pursue a pre-med track. Outside of academics I hope to get involved in acapella and theater. With so many things to do there, I’ll probably stumble upon something else though.

PatchWhat is your ultimate dream and dream job? Why?

CK: Well I mean as a singer and actor, I would always love to be a movie star or singer. I guess I’d just like the attention. But in a more practical sense, my dream job would be as a leading psychiatrist or neurologist who has used my passion—mindfulness—to alter to current thought and practice in the field.

PatchHow have you changed most since your freshman year?

CK: My overall demeanor has changed the most since freshman year. I used to be extremely uptight and constantly anxious. I can’t say I’m never nervous anymore, but I take life a little less seriously. I’ve learned to relax a little more and I’ve tried to find more enjoyment out of life. 

PatchWhat advice would you give to incoming freshmen now that you’ve been through high school?

CK: To incoming freshman I’d say high school is what you make of it. At the end of the day you are the reason for your own success and failures. So take initiative. Have fun, but also work hard. Because it’s here you begin to learn about who you are as a person.

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