Meena Ramakrishnan: Hi! My name is Meena Ramakrishnan, and I'm a junior at the IB World School at Plano East. I'm a lifelong dancer, passionate writer, and obsessive Sherlock fan. Most of all, however, I'm a student, a student who has been lucky to have supportive teachers and an abundance of opportunities to pursue my passions. And that's what I aspire to bring to every child. With the tools to succeed, and a platform for their voice to be heard, children everywhere can build a path to a better future. I believe that SmartStart can be the stepping-stone towards that path.
Anthony Douglas: Hi! My name is Anthony Douglas, and I am a junior at the IB World School at Plano East. I’m a graphic artist, history lover, and over-the-top music enthusiast. I hope to one day combine all of these passions into my career and carry over my knowledge to the next generation through a creative and diverse educational system. I strongly believe education is one of the foundations for a better life, and I hope that I am able to provide the knowledge necessary to create a thriving future for the community.
Melissa Abraham: Hey, I'm Melissa, a 17 year old from Plano, TX. I am a junior at the IB World School at Plano East. Every child should have the right to education because it empowers individuals to think and express their beliefs. Human minds are born with the natural tendency to ask questions. To me, education is something everyone should have access to and the opportunity to have it is the door to the future. I feel every child should be offered that opportunity and that’s where SmartStart comes in. Apart from SmartStart, I like to do Bollywood dance and hang out with friends.
Sophie Walsh: Hi! My name is Sophie and I’m a junior in the IB program at Plano East. I have a younger brother, Ryan, who has Down Syndrome, and because of him, equal access to education has become very important to me. In my free time I love to travel and write about it on my blog. I’ve visited 9 different countries and 14 of the 50 states!
Monish Challagondla: Hi, my name is Monish Challagondla, and I am a junior at the IB World School at Plano East Senior High School. I think education is one of the most important tools that an individual can have to empower themselves to make a difference in their life and the lives of others. The SmartStart Initiative is a phenomenal way to help provide this quality education for those who do not have access to it. I really enjoy working with the Initiative because I know that I’m helping others get the education that they deserve, and I could be helping someone who can go on to make a difference in the lives of millions of people. On the rare occasions that I have free time, I really like relaxing on the couch and binge-watching movies and TV shows.
Shriya Beesam: Hi, I’m Shriya Beesam! I’m a horrifyingly fanatic book nerd and tenth grader at the IB World School at Plano East Senior High, and I know how privileged I am to go to such a great school. Millions of other children aren’t as fortunate, even though they deserve an opportunity just as much as I do. So, when I joined this organization and learned about how it aimed to provide higher quality education for people from all backgrounds, I knew that this could have a huge impact and truly make sure that every child has a chance to reach their full potential. No child should be left behind or have their bright future be dimmed by the lack of proper resources. I am glad and proud to be a part of the SmartStart Initiative, because it reminds me that I’m making a difference, no matter how small.
Adhya Beesam: Hey, I’m Adhya Beesam, I’m a tenth grader at the IB Academy this year, and my favorite hobby is studying until I pass out. In my opinion, education is extremely undervalued in today’s society. Too many children and teens don’t really take the time to appreciate our education system in its unbridled entirety. They take this privilege for granted and don’t fully utilize the breadth of resources offered in schools like PESH because they don’t attempt to focus on learning. I hear people say things like, “I hate school,” and “Schools sucks,” daily, and while it is understandable at times, I find school to be a place where everyone given an equal opportunity to further their knowledge and learn more than we could ever need to know. Many others aren’t able to learn as well as we are. That’s what SmartStart’s about: trying to level the playing field for students so we can all have an equal inherent opportunity to further our knowledge.