‘I just enjoy getting good grades’

A soon-to-be graduate was so confident that she would be named valedictorian that she wrote her graduation speech two days before she officially was announced as the No. 1 student in her class.

Bhumi Patel has had her eye on the class honor since her sophomore year, she said. Students have access to their class rank throughout high school, and she continued to check her GPA and see where she ranked, she said.

Although Patel routinely was one of the top students in her grade, she struggled with comparing herself to her peers, she said.

“I would always see what other people are doing and think, ‘Why can’t I do that?’ or ‘Why am I not getting what they get?'” Patel said.

Before she was notified that she would be the valedictorian, Patel thought she would go ahead and write her speech for the graduation ceremony. If she needed it, the speech would be ready. If she wasn’t valedictorian, she’d simply throw the speech away, she said.

But Patel knew the top spot was within her reach, as she was one of the top 20 students in her class, which was announced last month.

Throughout high school, Patel wanted to excel in school on her own, she said.

“Honestly, I just enjoy getting good grades,” Patel said. “My parents never pressured me to do well in school, but they always wanted me to do my best.”

Patel had a routine for how she would attack homework or required reading for her classes, she said. From 6 to 8 p.m. each weeknight, her focus was solely on homework, she said.

But once she got her driver’s license, sticking to a set schedule was harder, she said. Instead of studying, she wanted to spend time with friends.

Patel also divided her time among more than five extracurricular activities, including student government and National Honor Society.

Next year, Patel plans on majoring in either neuroscience or biochemistry, as she was exposed to the field through a biochemistry class in high school, she said.

As part of the class, students could intern at area hospitals, so they could see patients’ MRI imaging, understand what a doctor and nurse do on a daily basis and see how the different specializations of biochemistry and neurology can be used in the medical field, Patel said.

The Patel File

Name: Bhumi Patel

Age: 18

High school: Center Grove High School

GPA: 4.745

College: Indiana University

Major: Biochem or neuroscience

Parents: Shantosh and Ila Patel

Extracurricular activities: Student government, writing club, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Glamour Gals

If you go

Hundreds of seniors will be receiving their diploma this weekend from Center Grove High School. To attend:

Where: Center Grove High School, 2717 S. Morgantown Road, Greenwood

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Note: Community members may also watch the graduation through a live stream on the Center Grove schools website. Go to www.centergrove.k12.in.us to find a link to the live stream.