ST. CHARLES – When describing the activities 17-year-old Yash Bhatia participated in during his four years at St. Charles East High School, it might be easier to list what he wasn’t involved in.
His extracurricular activities included orchestra; theater; the golf and tennis teams; the speech, debate and math teams; the National Honor Society; the Music, Spanish and Science honor societies; and volunteering for places such as the St. Charles Public Library and LivingWell Cancer Resource Center.
Additionally, he served as captain for the school’s Science Olympiad team he co-founded his sophomore year, was president of both STC Guides and the Math Honors Society and worked as the school newspaper’s editor-in-chief.
“I barely ever rode the bus home,” Bhatia said.
Bhatia – a St. Charles School District 303 student since the first grade – is set to graduate May 26 with another, more unexpected title attached to his name: prom king.
He and his girlfriend, Lissette Gonzalez, were crowned prom king and queen May 4.
“We didn’t expect to win,” he said.
Bhatia said it hasn’t yet sunk in that he soon will be leaving East. He is trying to enjoy his last few days as a Saint, he said.
As the opinions editor for the school newspaper since sophomore year, Bhatia spent much of his high school career letting the student body know his thoughts on various issues.
He tried to make his columns funny and entertaining while including a serious point, he said, adding he was able to strike the best balance this year.
After high school, Bhatia expects he will keep in touch with the club closest to him – the Science Olympiad team, he said.
In its first year, the team was one spot away from qualifying for state, he said, and in its second year it won its division at state while ranking 16th overall.
“It was really cool,” Bhatia said of the win. He noted the team advanced to a more difficult division this year and placed 10th overall.
Bhatia likely will pursue a career in science at Washington University in St. Louis, he said, mentioning such fields of study as medicine, chemical engineering and biomedical engineering.
His dream job would be working in the medical field for the United Nations, Bhatia said.
That aspiration stems from visiting his aunt who was director of medical services for the U.N., he said.
In high school, he really enjoyed the freedom to join whatever clubs he wanted and plans on participating in extracurricular activities in college.
Will he do as much as he did at East?
“Probably not as much,” Bhatia said, saying he will likely join a few clubs – maybe four or five.