The Inside Story on Khemilla Kedarnath

By Valerie Garofalo

Khemilla Kedarnath’s parents were on their way to attending a wedding when suddenly a car hit their vehicle. Kedarnath’s mother passed out and was immediately rushed to the hospital, giving birth to premature Khemilla on September 23, 1996.

Khemilla Kedarnath is now 16 and describes her life growing up, and particularly her experience as a Hindu student at a Catholic school.

Public school was not an option for Khemilla’s “strict” parents, and she says her parents wanted her to grow up in a safe educational atmosphere where she would be away from all the dangers and bullying of public school. Catholic school was a place for Kedarnath to learn about other cultures, and she says, “It helped me know what was out there, I learned a lot about cultural diffusion”. Kedarnath believes that going to Catholic School from Kindergarten to 8th grade made her who she is now.

She had to transition from her Catholic school to a NYC public high school after middle school. She currently attends Mott Hall V High School in the Bronx. She says she noticed a huge difference when she switched school environments. “I expected to do certain things at Catholic school differently compared to public school, for example I would say ‘good morning’ to the public school teachers and they would look confused not expecting manners,” she recalls.

Kedarnath quickly got accustomed to public school life but is grateful for her Catholic school teachings. Even though they “expected” her to sing, she says, they did teach her many valuable lessons.

About her current academics, Kedarnath repeatedly says “I hate math and science!” Although she might hate those two subjects, she is currently ranked number six in her high school.

Aside from academics, Kedarnath is very athletic. “I can shoot a couple of three pointers but I don’t consider myself athletically gifted”.  Her favorite sports are basketball and volleyball but she plays just for fun, she says.

Kedarnath says she looks up to three very inspirational people in her life. The first, her teachers at Mott Hall V; they have shown the characteristics of a great leaders who are “kind hearted” and “who inspire me to become a teacher although it’s something I don’t want to do,” Kedarnath says. The second person to inspire her is her uncle, who is serving in the Air Force and is based in California. She says she looks up to him because he is the first adult in her family that went to college. The third person is her 25 year-old cousin, who is the second to go to college and gives her advice about dealing with her strict Guyanese parents.

The Queens-born, Bronx-raised Kedarnath also shares many details of her life. She says her favorite season is the fall and she enjoys many thrills like roller coasters.  She likes to eat all types of food, from Italian to anything spicy. She says she wants to have the opportunity to experience camping, traveling and maybe track. During her free time she enjoys watching cartoons and eating kit kats or peanut m&m’s. She says she is unsure about what she wants to major in when in college, but she is thinking of majoring in communications since it deals with public issues and community development, both of which she is passionate about.

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