September 27, 1999
Danbury High academic stars want knowledge to help people
By Eileen FitzGerald
DANBURY Education is a steppingstone to improving the quality of life for everyone and gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves, according to two newly recognized high school scholars.
Danbury High School seniors Raajen Patel, 16, and Robert Proverb, 17, are among 16,000 semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Eligible to become finalists and scholarship winners, the two have varied interests that challenge them inside and outside the classrooms.
Doing well in school is a given for Patel.
"I work hard. I'm just a motivated person. I have a drive to learn. It's based on being able to better myself and to help society as a whole,'' Patel said. "What happens when you learn is that, at a certain point, you start putting things together, and then you can help others.''
Patel is senior class president, math team president, plays bass in the school orchestra and has played electric bass in a rock band, Neverless, for four years.
He earned his Eagle Scout award and is a guest commentator for the school newspaper, Hatter's Herald.
Proverb, a member of the computer club, math team and tennis team, works for the school part time as a computer consultant. His Eagle Scout award is pending.
He likes the combination of technology and science.
"I enjoy the research and the opportunity that working in the field presents apart from the normal science curriculum,'' Proverb said. "In both fields you can make a meaningful contribution."
Both students won awards at science competitions.
Proverb's presentation won first place at the state level and second place at the national level of the Science Symposium. He won second place at the state science fair and fourth at the national science fair.
Patel won third place in the state science fair.
"They are just great kids,'' high school Principal John Goetz said. "They are serious students. They set high expectations for themselves and for the whole class."
Nearly 1.2 million students in more than 20,000 high schools in the country entered the merit scholarship program as juniors by taking the preliminary scholastic assessment test, or PSAT. About 90 percent of the semifinalists, or 14,500, will be named finalists. Of those, 7,600 will win scholarships.
Patel and Proverb are philosophical about their futures, anxious to keep doors open to explore as many disciplines as possible as they make their place in the world.
"If I would go to change the world, I would do it on a human level,'' Patel said. "To gain a better knowledge of ourselves as humans is to come to terms with who we are and what we're here for."
"The goal of learning is not to make the economy better but to make humans better."
Division of Ottaway
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