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Hard Work Pays Off for Belton New Tech's Top Graduates

When Belton New Tech High School @Waskow senior Krithika Rajesh was a little girl, she dreamed of giving a valedictorian speech. But she didn’t think it would actually happen.

“It was just one of those little kid dreams,” she said.

On Tuesday, Rajesh got the news that she’s the school’s top student and will give the valedictorian speech at graduation ceremonies at 9 a.m. on May 26 at the Bell County Expo Center.

She is joined at the top of the class of 108 students by her friend, salutatorian Aditi Bhat.

“It’s always been tough, but it’s never been about competition,” Rajesh said. “It’s been about learning. We like learning.”

Bhat said this growth mindset and collaborating as friends — not competitors — is a distinguishing feature of their high school experience.

“It’s not been about getting to a spot,” said Bhat, the daughter of Sanjay and Nandita Bhat. “In general, we’re all friends. The rankings are just kind of there. If we were focused on getting rankings, we might have gotten there, but we would have been stressed out.”

At New Tech, Rajesh was a member of the varsity tennis team, the National Honor Society, Student Leadership Council and served as secretary for the Chamber Orchestra. Outside of school, she likes to sing classical Indian music, create art and is co-authoring a novel with her twin sister, Maheshwari.

Bhat played violin in the Chamber Orchestra, served as senior co-council of the Student Leadership Council and participated in the National Honor Society. She placed first at the National History Day as a junior, the first-ever Belton ISD student to do so.

The seniors are grateful to their teachers, friends and parents for helping them through their educational journey, which began in Belton ISD at South Belton Middle School.

“Our teachers, especially, have been really helpful,” Bhat said, explaining their willingness to offer snacks and answer millions of questions. 

Rajesh said she was raised in a home where there was never a question about doing something half baked and where her mom was her No. 1 supporter. 

“Sometimes I would question ‘Why am I working this hard? For what?’” said Rajesh, the daughter of Manjula Kalyansundaram and Rajesh Ramamuruthy. “It’s for the confidence. When you learn something and accomplish a task and you do something right — you feel good. Even if it’s tough. The tough things are a challenge. Like a code you can crack. They’re made for you to get better.”

Rajesh and Bhat will continue their studies at the University of Texas in the fall. Rajesh, as a member of the Polymathic Scholars Honors Program, will study environmental science and possibly pursue a career in medicine or business. Bhat will major in public health with the goal of attending medical school. 

Principal Kim Winters has no doubt both young ladies will achieve all their dreams.

“We are so proud of Krithika and Aditi and the hard work that these academic designations represent,” she said. “I can’t wait to see where life takes them and all the wonderful things they will do that will benefit others.”

May 19, 2022