We’ve talked in the past about the incredible school systems in the Montgomery County area. Montgomery County, Maryland was ranked #2 in the state of Maryland for the best school districts. Even more impressive, it was rated #1 for best school districts for athletes, #1 for districts with the best teachers, and #1 for most diverse school districts in Maryland. With every advantage, incredible programming, and the bright minds from our nation’s capital at their fingertips, you can only imagine the types of teens that come out of schools like Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda. Today, let’s talk about a few superstar children who have graduated from the Montgomery County school systems. Who knows, your kid could be next…
Vikram Akwei, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
Vikram Akwei, though born in the United States, lived in India for three years, and moved back to the US in third grade. Remembering the difficult transition, he felt an undeniable pull towards other immigrant students. He created the High School Success Program at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School when he was a sophomore. Recently immigrated students from low-income families are paired with peer mentors who tutor them in English and math for three weeks each summer. Besides his philanthropic efforts, he is also a track and field athlete, a singer, and theater actor. Vikram was accepted to Yale last fall where he currently serves as an academic tutor, a Congressional intern, and a member of the A cappella group, the Yale Alley Cats.
Joseph Kaperst, Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD
It all started with a tough computer science course at Walt Whitman High School that Joseph Kaperst couldn’t quite grasp. Instead of giving up, he reframed the concepts in a way he could understand. A year later, when his sister took the course, he decided to put his ideas into a computer program so others could also apply them. But he didn’t stop there. In 2014, he started a chapter of CoderDojo, an international computer programming club for kids. With the help of his sister and a few friends, he began teaching computer science to kids as young as 6 years old. In 2020 he graduated from Stanford with honors, and currently works for Bebras Computing Challenge introducing computational thinking to students.
Sarah Elbeshbishi, Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, MD
Sarah Elbeshbishi’s claim to fame was breaking the story about a referee that barred a basketball player from her regional final game because she was wearing her hijab. That story, published in her high school’s student newspaper, was later picked up by the Washington Post, and later, nationally, by CNN and others. Needless to say, this girl believes in the power of journalism. Not only did she become editor-in-chief of The Current (the school paper), she also was senior class president, secretary of the schools’ National Honor Society, and a varsity soccer player and softball player. She now studies journalism at the University of Maryland and has been an intern with Meet the Press and USA Today.