MONROE – For Monroe Township High School graduating seniors Megha Jain and Saanya Lingineni, the diverse nature of the student body and the acceptance and understanding of everyone from their peers to faculty made their high school experience that much more fulfilling.
“We are diverse, but we are all inclusive to each other’s cultures,” Megha said, also pointing out that she was able to celebrate Bhangra fest, a dance celebrating the Punjabi culture.
She said she loved growing up in Monroe where she was able to play outside with her neighbors.
“The area where I live is rural,” she said. “We are all really close-knit.”
Jain and Saanya addressed their class of 509 students as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, during the 2019 Monroe Township High School graduation ceremony at the Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton on June 26, in front of family and friends.
Ahead of the graduation, Jain and Saanya shared the highlights of their four years at Monroe Township High and what plans they have for the future.
Saanya, 17, said during her time at Monroe High, she led Girl Up, an organization she founded to advocate, raise money and awareness for girls to get a better education in countries living in poverty.
She said her Indian family roots are what inspired her to create such an organization last school year while observing girls on the streets on a visit to India, who do not get much education.
Along with Girl Up, Sannya said she was involved in Mathletics; DECA, a nonprofit organization preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe; and a number of National Honor societies.
In the fall, Saanya plans to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She said as of right now she is unsure what she is going to major in, but is thinking of the pre-med track.
Jain, 18, said for the last two years she played soccer on the school’s varsity team, serving as captain this year.
Along with soccer, she was involved with FBLA, a student organization preparing students for careers in business; Math Honor Society; and Youth and Government, which she said has been the most influential for her as a student.
“I went from being someone who could not speak in front of anyone to speaking in front of 350 people,” she said.
In the fall, Megha plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science in Pittsburgh. She said she is interested in majoring in artificial intelligence.