Ravi Shah named salutatorian
May 15, 2023
Caption: Salutatorian Ravi Shah will be giving a speech at the graduation ceremony on May 29 and will be pursuing a career in computer science at the University of Texas at Austin next year.
He did not know until he received a text message in his car. The third nine-weeks transcript was out, confirming he was ranked second in his class.
It was April, and senior Ravi Shah was named salutatorian.
Shah will be giving a speech at the graduation ceremony on May 29 at the University of North Texas. After graduating, he will attend the University of Texas at Austin to study computer science.
“It’s just fun to know all the studying and hard work helped me achieve this rank,” Shah said. “It was a bit of a surprise, but really exciting.”
The possibility of becoming salutatorian did not occur to Shah until he saw his high school transcript during his sophomore year. As a student, he said his motive was to challenge himself through college-level courses, some he took being AP Calculus and humanities.
“I learned that it’s fun to push yourself,” Shah said. “When you take hard classes, a lot of the time they’re daunting [but] feeling the reward that you get when you finally succeed is worth it.”
Coming into high school, Shah joined tennis, a sport he has played since seventh grade. Shah placed first in a doubles tournament in 2021. He also joined the computer science club and got second place at a programming contest at Richardson High School with his team in 2021.
“Most people would think that if someone has such a high rank, then he’s just really smart,” AP physics teacher Bernard Jenkins said. “More often than not, it’s [because] they work really hard. [Shah] works really hard. Besides being a very good student, he’s also a wonderful human being. He also uses his time to help other people.”
Next year at UT Austin, Shah will study machine learning and data science, which he said he finds intellectually stimulating. Outside of school, he works on projects in online platforms, such as Github and Kaggle. One of his most noteworthy memories, according to him, is when he participated in a Mars spectrometry challenge, where competitors had to analyze data on the characteristics of chemical compounds NASA found on Mars to determine its habitability, and the top competitor’s data would be used by NASA.
“Computer science, to me, is like a mental exercise of problem solving,” Shah said. “It’s more of a game than a subject, which is why I find it so fun.”
Shah said the encouragement from his friends, family and teachers have helped him overcome challenges. He has served the community through being a part of National Honor Society, National Science Honor Society and the school development committee.
“Ravi is a very kind and caring person [who] always looks out for people,” senior Sahir Lakhani said. “He’s very hardworking, [dedicated] to his future [and has the] ability to stay on task and stay focused.”