When you meet Henna Hundal, you can instantly tell that she is a young lady with a powerful brain. Through her maturity and speaking ability she seems more like a college senior or a graduate student, rather than a senior at Turlock High School.
Hundal is a student and a human being with the intelligence and internal drive to do big things in this world. Recently her accomplishments are getting noticed, as Hundal was selected as a semifinalist for the 2015 National Merit Scholar Program. She will go on to compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million to be offered next spring.
To get a glimpse of Hundal’s accomplishments, just take a look at her GPA — a whopping 4.65. THS Principal Marie Peterson joked that Hundal “is smarter than all of us combined.”
She isn’t too far off base. Her list of activities and honors stretches the length of five pages, but here is just a glimpse:
• Distinguished Key Club Editor
• National AP Scholar
• Modesto Bee’s Teen Hall of Fame
• Silver Key in Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
• A Featured CNN iReporter
• Two Editor’s Choice Awards from Teen Ink Magazine
• Two County Mock Trial Journalist Awards
• National Teen Leadership Program’s Inspiration Award
• UC Davis COSMOS Tina Rose Noto Award (commitment to pediatric healthcare)
• Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award
• First place calculus at Dick Schaff Math Superbowl
• Second Place in Ode to Turlock Poetry Contest
• Honorable mention in Modesto Peace Essay Contest
• Finalist in United States Capitol Historical Society’s Essay Contest
• Turlock High Achievement Awards in Math Analysis, Honors English 10, Honors
Chemistry, AP Calculus, and Spanish 3
• CorePower Certified Yoga Instructor.
• Math Club Founder and President for 9th
• Medi-Careers President for 11th
• UC Davis COSMOS, in the Biotechnology cluster. She won the Tina Rose Noto Award for an essay she wrote about her commitment to pediatric healthcare
• UC Davis Young Scholars Program, a six-week residential research program. She interned in the microbiology department and performed genomic assembly and annotation on a
microorganism (Pantoea Eucrina) that was grown on the International Space
• Stanislaus County Office of Education to attend the National Teen Leadership Program at CSU Sacramento.
• Lead host of Express Yourself! Teen Radio, the top-rated program on the VoiceAmerica Kids Network.
• Host of Tomorrow’s World with Henna on centralvalleytalk.com, which is Fresno’s premier online TV station. I’m the youngest host of a show on the network.
• Co-author YOLO — Teen Success Project. You Only Live Once, So
Be Awesome! The eBook is expected to be published on Dec. 19, 2014 by Ponn Press.
• You Are Valued Organization’s Teen Ambassador.
• Part of the California Adolescent Health Collaborative (CAHC).
Hundal says her drive and participation is so many things all pivot around the same purpose, to improve the minds and lives of others.
“Basically, all my activities pivot around the same purpose: raising the level of
consciousness of people around me,” she said. “Whether I’m writing or on the radio, I hope that through the ideas and stories I’m expressing, people will see facets that they can
relate to and be empowered to live better lives.”
An example of this is her online talk show on centralvalleytalk.com, Tomorrow’s World with Henna, a teen-oriented show that sheds light on the amazing work her peers are doing throughout the region.
“I believe that, if I can facilitate a meaningful program that teens can relate to and be elevated from, more teens will join me in this journey of walking our own truth. My belief in this type of youth empowerment as a means for humanity to take a collective step forward was
solidified when I received numerous positive comments after bringing a high school
kid on the talk show who’d dedicated years to community service,” Hundal wrote.
“On the show, the boy shared his intense passion for volunteering. Sometime after the show, a viewer wrote in to me that she had been inspired to take up a small weekly volunteering
activity. As you can imagine, it gives me incredible joy to think that, through the platforms I establish and maintain, I can connect people to ideas and stories that help enrich their lives,” Hundal continued.
Hundal’s college plans remain undecided at this point. She is wrestling with whether she should go to college in California or somewhere on the East Coast, but her career goals are focused. She wants to fuse her knowledge of medicine and journalism and better communicate to the public what the scientific world is doing for humanity.
Whatever choices Hundal makes, it is certain that she will be a bright shining star of Turlock and will represent what she learned here to the entire world for many years to come.