Academic powerhouse has many talents in balance

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- Classes for the fall semester began today at the University of California at Berkley, one of the nation’s premiere academic institutions. This year’s valedictorian at Shawnee Mission East High School is there starting his studies in Chemical Engineering with a goal of one day helping to curb global warming. It’s one of many ways this week’s FOX 4 Reaching 4 Excellence young achiever intends to leave his positive mark on our world.

“So, a lot of people ask the question, ‘What is the purpose of life? Why are we here?’ Whereas I see it differently,” said FOX 4 Young Achiever Bhavish Dinakar. “I see it as, ‘I was born and one day I’m going to die.’ Which means that I have a limited time in order to do things. So in order to maximize the amount of things I can do while I’m alive, I have to be as efficient as possible. So I try to do a bunch of things.”

That, said Bhavish, is his philosophy of life. And he has a great start on his goal. Among the bunch of things he does is music. Bhavish is a violin virtuoso and he also plays several other instruments.

“I think music is so important for me because it carries out into all other sectors of life,” said Bhavish. “The idea of music is having something, working towards it to perfection which is something you apply in all of your careers. Bhavish is teaching violin to beginners now. He’s also started teaching piano.

“The reason why I teach people is because it really forces me to master the material that I know and then I can convey that information to others,” said Bhavish.”

Sharing his phenomenal knowledge and love of music and many different subjects is very big and important for Bhavish. He’s also a creative and effective mentor and teacher in debate and chemistry – his two strongest activity and academic areas at Shawnee Mission East High School.

“He’s such a well-balanced kid and there’s so many sides to him,” said Trey Witt who was Bhavish’s teacher and coach in his four years of championship debate and forensics at East High.

“It’s been really fun to learn little tidbits about him over the years,” said Witt.

Some of the tidbits Witt learned about his star performer center on Bhavish’s amazing inventiveness. The top scholar in this year’s senior class at East, Bhavish wrote a storybook on chemistry and crafted entertaining videos posted on line to help other students learn the science. Bhavish also is in the process of developing a website for student ride-sharing and two apps, one on jazz music instruction and the other for debate tournament scheduling.

And he’s an Eagle Scout, earning the high rank with a community service project collecting used guitars for military veterans suffering from trauma.

“He’s not only brilliant but he stands out to me in so many ways because of his personality,” said Witt. “He has the perfect balance to me of a kid who can be successful but also really be humble.”

And very philosophical about his life and its value.

“People, regardless of whether you’re a Nobel Prize-winning scientist or you’re doing something else with you’re life, you have a whole bunch of knowledge in your head that nobody else on Earth has exactly the same knowledge you do,” said Bhavish. “Teaching it to other people or writing it down is a way to make that knowledge permanent so in the future, when you’re no longer around, people can still know what you knew when you’re no longer alive.”

Balancing life to perfection.

Loyal viewers of our weekly feature on outstanding young people may remember Bhavish’s brother, Akshay. We spotlighted him last summer right after his senior year at Shawnee Mission East. The Dinakar brothers are two peas in a pod when it comes to achievement. Akshay is now starting his second year at Stanford University.

FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m. and noon.