SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — In Union Catholic’s latest installment of Feature Friday, the spotlight shines on senior Rajit Sharma.
Sharma, who lives in South Plainfield, is an Honor Roll student, a Student Ambassador, a member of the tennis and forensics teams, and he’s been inducted into the National Honor Society. Here is our Q and A with Sharma:
You do such a great job representing UC! What does it mean to you to represent the school as a Student Ambassador and what’s the best thing about being an Ambassador?
I really enjoy being a Student Ambassador. I’ve been able to go to so many events and give back to UC in so many ways. My favorite part about being an Ambassador is sharing my excitement and love for UC with others.
I know you were inducted into the National Honor Society this year? That’s such a great honor! What does that mean to you?
The National Honor Society was a strong motivating factor in my academic achievements. Leadership and service are two important aspects of the National Honor Society, making it more than just a one-and-done deal.
You are such a well-rounded student at UC. Can you list everything you are involved in at UC besides tennis, and being a Student Ambassador?Besides tennis and being a Student Ambassador, I am also a part of the Forensics Team as well as Operation Smile.
When and how did you get started playing tennis?I started playing tennis my freshman year. I really wanted to be involved in UC’s athletics program, so I felt that tennis would be the best sport for me.
I know it must have been tough not having a tennis season last spring. What did you do to stay sharp and improve yourself, and what are your personal and team goals for the upcoming season?
I did basic at-home exercises to stay in shape, along with running around my neighborhood. To practice, I would go in my backyard and practice my shots against the wall. This upcoming season, I want our team to have an improved winning record, and grow closer as friends and teammates.
What do you love the most about playing tennis at UC?
I love how seamless the transition is from classroom learning to activities. It feels like the same people in my class are on the court with me as well.
Can you explain how the balance between academics, sports and extracurricular activities has helped you become a better student, and how important it is to be involved in different things?
I’ve learned how to manage my time, and gotten the satisfaction of being able to do my part for the community. I believe the importance of involvement goes beyond club activities. Being able to spend more time with your classmates and strengthen relationships outside of the classroom leads to some very strong friendships and passionate clubs.
Can you list all the awards/honors you have received at UC? Honor Roll, academic awards etc.
National Honor Society – Inducted as a Junior
Spanish Honor Society – Inducted as a Junior
Biology Olympiad – awarded Freshman Year
High Honors – Freshman-Present
What does it mean to you to have achieved some much academic success?
“I think it’s a testament to my dedication to achieve academic success. With support and encouragement from family, friends, and teachers, I feel that I’ve been able to have the motivation to keep working hard.
What do you love the most about being a student at Union Catholic?
I love how close everyone is to one another. The faculty are more than just teachers. They are people you can approach and talk to about whatever you want. Students are always active after school, and it’s very easy to find your niche.
Why and how did you decide that UC was the place for you to be? What was it about UC that made you want to be a student here?
Coming to UC for a school tour, I could see how friendly and genuinely happy everyone was. The hallways felt familiar and I could envision myself walking through them with my own group of friends. That sense of belonging made me choose UC.
What kind of advice would you give to younger students who are considering attending UC? Why should they come to UC and what will UC give them that they won’t be able to find at other schools?
I really think everyone should be involved in some way. If you are even the slightest bit interested in something, it’s always better to dip your toes in and see if you will like it or not. UC will always give you something to do, whether it be clubs or sports, everyone has something they love to do here.
What specifically can you point to as the things that you’ve benefited from the most from your experience as a student at UC?
Club activities and classes have benefited me the most. Going through the college process, I realized just how similar the clubs at UC are similar to top level colleges. UC’s successful push for student involvement has given me the motivation to continue being a part of whichever college community I end up at next.
How about the future? Have you made your final decision yet about which college you will attend?
As of now, I am waiting to hear back from my colleges. Once I receive all of my decisions, I will be able to make a choice then.
What would you like to major in and what type of career would you like to pursue?
I would like to study business in college. I want to pursue a leadership career in a company so I can work to create products and ideas whose benefits will reach a large group of people.
What is something about yourself that most people don’t know? Maybe a hidden talent or hobby?
I enjoy computer building. Diagnosing and troubleshooting PCs is a fun pastime, and a good way to get my brain to think in creative ways.
Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
My favorite pastime is playing video games. I can always unwind after a long day and play videogames to de-stress and think about tomorrow’s plans.
Favorite class and teacher at UC?
Mrs. Portillo and her Spanish class are my absolute favorites. I love how easy it is to connect with the class and the occasional tangents during lessons.
Favorite UC Tennis Moment?
My favorite memory from UC tennis is the practices. Looking back to when we had a normal season, it was so much fun to play with the upperclassmen and my friends.
Favorite UC non-tennis moment?
The ski trip was my favorite non-tennis memory. It was my first time skiing, and it was a lot of fun tumbling in the snow.
Favorite UC event?
Forensics away meets are my favorite UC events. It serves as an important bonding moment for the entire forensics team, and brings us closer together.
Favorite UC Core Value?
My favorite UC Core Value is responsibility. I believe that we need to learn what our responsibilities are and work to fulfill them to our best ability.
Life Motto: Work harder
One word to describe your UC experience: Lively
One tip for members of the Class of 2024?
Cherish all the time you can with your friends. Go out and do things you would have never thought to do.
Union Catholic (1600 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains) prepares a diverse student body to fulfill their college and career goals by cultivating the students’ achievement of academic standards of excellence within a value-centered environment, strong in its commitment to our core values (respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion, and community), and to the establishment of a community of faith and love in the Catholic tradition. For more information, call (908) 889-1600 or visit www.unioncatholic.org.