Kudva earns title of senior class valedictorian, but is worth much more


Sophia Keang

Senior Tejas Kudva smiles for a picture.

Sophia Keang, Editor-in-Chief

Senior Tejas Kudva has accomplished academic excellence many students cannot even imagine. As for the final cherry on top for an unforgettable high school career, Kudva has been announced as class of 2022 valedictorian. This title, of being one of the highest achieving students in his grade, attests not only to his academic rigor but also his passion for learning.

Coming this fall, Kudva will be attending the University of Michigan for its highly ranked pre-medicine program. He plans to further his studies in the science field through a major in neuroscience.

His decision to pursue an intense pre-med track comes from his passion for medicine. From a young age, Kudva had been exposed to the medical field mainly through his mom’s side of the family. Inspired by his aunts, uncles, and grandparents working as physicians, he gravitated towards medicine ever since he could remember.

“The whole concept of helping people and literally saving people’s lives are really just what pushed me towards the field,” Kudva said.

Throughout all four years of high school, Kudva has taken some of the most rigorous courses Westford Academy has to offer. His transcript consists of honors and advanced courses such as statistics, calculus, chemistry, biology, English literature and much more. His extracurriculars also revolved around the medical field; he was a dedicated volunteer at Lahey Hospital and even had the opportunity to shadow a general physician to further expose him to the field.

However, while Kudva challenged himself to take these high leveled classes, he emphasizes the importance of a balanced lifestyle.

“My extracurriculars and transcript definitely match to one who is passionate about medicine, but I do prioritize balance,” Kudva said. “I think students think you need to be hyper focused on one area of studies in order to succeed in life, but I like to take a more holistic approach to life by allowing myself to prioritize school while also allotting time to debrief and relax a little.”

This holistic lifestyle is what ultimately allowed Kudva to obtain the full high school experience. While maintaining high grades, he was also deeply involved in many of WA’s athletic teams as he was captain for both the boys’ soccer team and the boys’ volleyball team.

Understanding his limits allowed for Kudva’s success in being able to commit both to academics and athletics. It was important for him to maintain a healthy balance; thus, he sought out extra-help when classes became extra challenging and dropped classes in his schedule when it became necessary.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was in the first grade and it’s just always been a part of who I am; And I had just started playing volleyball in freshman year. ” Kudva said. “I think these sports were really an outlet for the stressful times in my life and I’m so grateful for it.”

One of Kudva’s favorite classes he’s taken at Westford Academy is AP Chemistry with Timothy Knittel. Kudva had one of the highest grades in the class, but that was not the only reason he stuck out as a student for Knittel. According to Knittel, Kudva proved to be an intelligent, charismatic, and innovative student by not only understanding such advanced concepts, but being able to explain them to other students in a cogent and intelligible manner.

“I am most impressed by his personality. He has a kind, warm and witty personality and easily adapts to different environments,” Knittel said. “Tejas continues to display a positive mood and demeanor when faced with challenges, stress or adverse situations.”

During his senior year, Kudva was a teacher assistant for Knittel. This role involved assisting Knittel with class preparations and lab work. Kudva was also given the opportunity to lecture one of Knittel’s current AP Chemistry classes, allowing him to prove his true understanding of chemistry.

“When Mr. Knittel allowed me to teach one of his classes, I was really nervous at first. But, he had confidence and faith in me that I would be just fine and I was,” Kudva said. “Mr. Knittel reassured me and saw the potential I had. He’s always been a teacher I looked up to and respected.”

When talking to his peers, teachers, and friends, Kudva is not only known for his academic achievements, but his personality. Some of the most commonly used words to describe him are humble, dedicated, and talented.

Kudva’s ability to put others before himself was also admired by his close friend, senior Ryan Dipietro.

“Tejas is someone who could be going through a lot but he will always find a way to put others before himself and that is something not only what I respect him for, but who I strive to be,” Dipietro said.

Amongst the intense academic nature of Westford Academy, Kudva will remember the long lasting friendships made throughout the years. Senior Aditya Venkat and him have been friends for over eight years. As a result, the two share many core memories, one of which from the eighth grade Washington D.C. trip.

“Our group was on our way to dinner and while we were walking, I saw a spider and immediately pushed Tejas into the spider but then he started pushing me back,” Venkat said. “Then our chaperone saw us and yelled at us for ‘horsing around’. She didn’t believe us when we told her what had happened, and made us walk next to her for the rest of the night. Tejas would probably say I’d do the same thing today, and I can honestly say that he’s right.”

Venkat recalls that moment as one of the moments he remembered why he loved Kudva so much – Kudva’s ability to have fun whilst also being able to maintain a healthy school-life balance.

Though Kudva has chosen to pursue his studies in neuroscience and hopes to be at the forefront of some field, he isn’t entirely sure as to what he wants to do in the future. He would have loved to invest more time into hands-on projects in the medical field; however, it was difficult for him to find those kinds of opportunities when the majority of his high school career was in the midst of the pandemic. Despite this setback, he is thrilled to begin the upcoming fall semester at the University of Michigan.

“I’m really excited about the different opportunities Michigan has in store for me not only academically but also the social life there sounds great. Ann Arbor is a beautiful city and honestly I’m ready to watch some football games,” Kudva said.

Throughout his time at Westford Academy, one of the many life skills he has learned is to just live life. No matter the struggles being faced or the obstacles that need to be overcome, it is possible to succeed.

“You don’t need to cut out things you enjoy doing as long as you have a balance. You can still succeed academically as long as you take advantage of the opportunities for help,” Kudva said. “In the end, everyone has their own definition of success and it’s up to you to define what that means.”