Valid valedictorian

Confirmed valedictorian Trisha Bhujle reflects on high school career.


Sarosh Ismail

Bhujle will be attending Cornell University in the fall.

From the minute she first saw her No. 1 class rank during her sophomore year, senior Trisha Bhujle decided she would put in the work to become valedictorian. 

Final transcripts were sent out April 13, and, sure enough, Bhujle was ranked No. 1 in her class once again. She has kept her valedictorian spot since sophomore year and will give a speech at the graduation ceremony May 29. 

“I wasn’t sure what to expect because there’s so much competition, and everyone is so good,” Bhujle said. “I feel like anything can happen because we’re all so close to each other. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was happy when I saw [my rank].”

Bhujle said being valedictorian wasn’t even on her mind during freshman year, but once she saw her rank sophomore year, she decided she wanted to work toward maintaining it.

“I try to devote as much energy and effort into my assignments as possible, and I try to go to tutorials whenever I need help with stuff, which is a couple times a week,” Bhujle said. “Rank isn’t everything, so I didn’t want to make it my goal and have to sacrifice other fun things. It was kind of [about] trying to find a balance between the two, and I was like, ‘This is something I want to do, but I don’t want it to be at [the] cost of something else.’”

Bhujle has been involved in extracurriculars throughout her time in high school, including playing the violin in the orchestra, being president of Spanish National Honor Society, working as a digital marketer for an online test prep company and keeping up with an environmental blog outside of school. The blog entails interviewing people who work in the environmental field, writing poems and creating artwork. Bhujle said even with all of these activities on her plate, she finds a way to manage her time well. 

“What I like about my extracurriculars [is] that for the most part, they’re very flexible,” Bhujle said. “For example, I’m the one in charge [of my blog], so I don’t have to do it every single week. My job [is] very flexible, and I also get to work from home. In terms of time management, that’s definitely helped a lot. I think it is a little bit stressful trying to balance all of those things. The challenge is there, but I’m grateful for the flexibility that I get because that has definitely helped me to continue to focus on school work as well.”

Trisha has been in orchestra since sixth grade, which is when orchestra director Matthew Cautivar met her. Cautivar moved to Hebron after working with Trisha for one year in middle school as the Killian Middle School director and has worked with her for the last four years.

“Trisha has been an exemplary student for as long as I’ve known her,” Cautivar said. “While being named the valedictorian is an academic recognition, Trisha has always shown empathy and kindness toward her classmates. [Former] students have gone on to change the world ever since this school opened, and I can’t wait to see how Trisha will.”

AP Calculus teacher Ryan Woodward taught Trisha through her junior year and said she was engaged and hard-working, even throughout virtual learning, and she gifted him paintings she had created at the end of the year. 

“I think she just has the perfect well-rounded student personality,” Woodward said. “There are students in my class that [are] going to get A’s on everything with or without me, [but] she’s someone that is naturally smart. But she’ll take notes, she’ll ask questions [and] she tries her absolute hardest to be the best that she can be. It’s not very often you get students that have the motivation that she has. She’s also super nice, thoughtful [and] she has all of it: a very well-rounded student.”

After graduating, Bhujle plans to go to Cornell University and major in Environment and Sustainability. She also loves writing and Spanish, and hopes to incorporate these interests into her college experience. 

“At the moment that’s all I have planned, but I’m excited for the next four years,” Bhujle said. “Environmentalism is such a broad field — you can [study] disease research, deforestation management or you can do ocean conservation. It’s so broad that I feel like I need to take classes there and maybe do an internship before I decide what I want to specialize in.”

Bhujle said the biggest thing the valedictorian title has given her is the feeling of fulfillment and capability knowing she was able to accomplish it. Bhujle said her best advice for underclassmen going for the title is to work hard but to not stress out too much. 

“Of course you need to do all of your homework on time and stuff like that, but more importantly, I think not overstressing is important because when you stress too much, it starts to take a toll on your grades as well,” Bhujle said. “You shouldn’t dwell on your mistakes: you should let them pass, move onto the next thing and [focus on] doing better on the next assignment. Mistakes are still going to be made, and that’s OK, but you have to know how to respond to them and you have to be able to learn from them.”