San Clemente High School senior Kanei Padhya was recently selected to serve as Student Advisor to the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees for the 2021-2022 school year.
Padhya is a co-founder of the SCHS Tutoring Club, SCHS Computer Science Club, and SCHS Against Racism Outreach Club. She is a co-president of San Clemente Against Racism. She is a member of No Place for Hate at SCHS as well as the school’s swim team, and serves as a Link Crew Leader. She is currently interning for Dr. Priya Bhat-Patel, a candidate for the Carlsbad City Council.
Padhya, 17, will represent the district’s grade K-12 students during all regular and special meetings, except for closed sessions, of the Board of Trustees during her one-year term.
She succeeds Aliso Niguel High School senior Anchal Bhaskar, who served the board during the 2020-2021 school year; and San Clemente High School’s Genavieve Koenigshofer, who served the board during 2019-2020.
CUSD Insider: Do you remember your reaction and what went into your head when you learned you were chosen as Student Advisor to the Board?
Kanei Padhya: I was excited and very surprised to be selected for this position as I knew some of my peers who were interviewed for this position and how qualified they were.
CUSD Insider: Why were you interested in becoming the Student Advisor to the Board?
Padhya: Being an upperclassman and having siblings who are underclassmen graduating from our middle school, our school system is very important to me. Our system has helped me grow scholastically and practically by providing me with many opportunities in and out of the classroom. My desire to ensure that my siblings and peers have the same opportunities available after this pandemic made me want to become the Student Advisor to the Board.
CUSD Insider: What about the board position do you find interesting?
Padhya: Watching democracy in action by seeing parents and board members debating topics that are important to our school system and resolving them.
CUSD Insider: What are you most excited about working with the Board during the 2021-22 year?
Padhya: I want to work with the board to bring normalcy and safety to all the students in our system reminiscent to pre-COVID.
CUSD Insider: What grade are you in? Are you in any clubs or sports at school? What school do you attend? Do you have a favorite subject to study? If so, what is it and why?
Padhya: I am in 12th grade at SCHS. I co-founded SCHS Tutoring Club, SCHS Computer Science Club, and SCHS Against Racism Outreach Club. Also, I am co-president of San Clemente Against Racism. I am currently on the swim team and in the past was on the water polo team. My favorite subjects are math and computer science because they are both languages of abstractions where you can use your ideas to solve real world problems.
CUSD Insider: What is your favorite thing about high school?
Padhya: I love my swim and water polo team. I have met many of my friends there who always supported me and helped me become who I am today.
CUSD Insider: What is your favorite food?
Padhya: Being an original Jersey kid, I love pizza! I definitely do miss having a good slice of pizza.
CUSD Insider: How has the pandemic affected your school experience? What, if any, silver linings do you see?
Padhya: Learning remotely and missing in-person time with my peers has been hard. But with these tough circumstances I got to work with fellow students who stepped up to help their fellow students by tutoring and starting student initiatives to help the community. Seeing my teachers and the rest of the faculty come in during peak pandemic times made me realize how much they truly care about us and I am proud to be a part of our school.
CUSD Insider: Are there any other things you want the CUSD Insider community to know about you?
Padhya: I am proud to be an OC kid. I enjoy all forms of water sports to relax. This past year, on TV, I have seen communities fall apart due to COVID and am proud of our community for working together during these tough times to get back together.