NHS valedictorian, salutatorian look to future

Published 10:03 am Thursday, June 8, 2017

NEDERLAND — Nederland High School’s valedictorian, Aleef Maredia, and salutatorian, Ruhi Maredia, have both worked hard for their academic success.

Both say it was important for them to achieve this success because of the struggles and sacrifices they saw their respective parents make.

“I did it for my parents. They both moved from agrarian parts of India to the United States of America in hopes of giving their kids a better life through proper schooling,” Aleef Maredia said. “For all the sacrifices they made, I felt it was my responsibility to take advantage of this opportunity that was not presented to them.”

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Ruhi Maredia said her parents worked extremely hard as immigrants to build a life for her and her brother.

“I grew up watching them struggle and sacrifice their own wellbeing for the benefit of mine,” Ruhi Maredia said. “Their determined and hardworking mindsets inspired me to build a life of my own and excel in academics.”

The top two Bulldogs added extracurricular activities to their already busy schedule, which helped them, overcome distractions. Ruhi allowed herself plenty of time for extracurricular activities such as student council so she didn’t lose touch with social aspects of school. She also frequently spent time with friends and family.

“For me, it is all about balancing my time and prioritizing,” Ruhi Maredia said.

Aleef dedicated his free time to extracurricular activities and that, coupled with his schoolwork, left no time to even get distracted.

When they weren’t studying or doing schoolwork they found ways to relax. For Aleef, it’s spending time with friends and family.

“Whether it be swimming, playing sports, or going out to eat, anything that keeps me from staying cooped up in my house is enjoyable,” he said.

Ruhi enjoys painting and doing any kind of artwork or craft project, she said, adding that as soon as she gets a break from school she likes to relax and paint.

Aleef and Ruhi offered some works of advice to freshmen.

“Take the most rigorous courses offered to challenge yourself and just try to do your best,” he said. “However, understand that there is more to school than just grades. Try to get involved to make your overall experience of high school more enjoyable.”

Ruhi had similar advice.

“Get involved in school, be active in your student body, and build connections with others,” she said. “It’s not all about the numbers, ranks, and GPA. Academics should be your priority, but make time for yourself and extracurriculars.”

Aleef and Ruhi both plan to head to the University of Texas in Austin this fall.

Ruhi will major in biochemistry in preparation for premed. She hopes to further her studies in medical school and specialize in pediatrics to work with children. Ten years from now she sees herself as happy, successful and starting a family as he finishes up her studies.

Aleef is looking to major in mechanical engineering with a chance of majoring in business. If all goes well he hopes to have gained enough engineering insight to start and run his own consulting firm.

The top graduates were also asked to chime in on what their favorite movie is.

“I love ‘Hidden Figures’ because it empowers women and shows the importance that equality has in our society,” Ruhi said.

Aleef gravitated towards a different type of space-related film, ‘Interstellar.’

“I like how accurate it is and the different theories it explores,” he said. “That and movie’s protagonist, Matthew McConaughey, went to UT.”

Aleef Maredia is the son of Aziz and Roshan Maredia.

Ruhi Maredia is the daughter of Hamid Maredia and Shamim Maredia.