Harleen Sethi makes the Teen Hall of Fame

March 26, 2009 

SK Harleen Sethi

Beyer High School student Harleen Sethi, Monday March 23, 2009 for Teen Hall Of Fame. (Steve Kosko / The Modesto Bee)

  • FAMILY: Parents, Parminder and Seema; brother, Harvin, 24

    HOBBIES: Baking, reading, being outdoors, hiking, playing sports

    BIGGEST INFLUENCE: Knowing that my parents moved to this country for me, and using that to reach my potential

    LAST BOOK I READ FOR PLEASURE: "The World is Flat," by Thomas Freedman

    FAVORITE TV SHOWS: "Mythbusters" and "The Office"

    FAVORITE MOVIE: "Mary Poppins"

    FAVORITE MUSIC: I kind of like all music, including any pop and R&B, like Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Jason Mraz and Maroon 5.

    BIGGEST FEAR: Having to look back on my life and not trying something I wish I would have.

    WHAT I'D TELL THE PRESIDENT: Be perceptive to the people around you and don't be afraid to take the initiative.

    ADVICE FOR KIDS: Find something you're passionate about and run with it. Whatever you do shouldn't feel like work.

    ADVICE FOR ADULTS: Teachers can be found in the most unlikely sources. Be open to your surroundings and soak in whatever you can.

    WHERE I'LL BE IN 10 YEARS: I'll be in grad school and working with Doctors without Borders in some international project.

Harleen is a humanitarian and a leader.

In addition to being the Associated Student Body president at Beyer High School, she has tutored at -- and raised money to help -- an orphanage in India.

Harleen has been in leadership for three years; as the ASB president, she represents the students and helps make decisions as the liaison between the students and the administration.

"My favorite part is to be taken seriously as a student voice and being able to have the responsibility for representing the student voice," she said. "I've learned that it takes more than one person to bring about change, and there is no straight definition for a leader, and everyone has different qualities to lead."

Harleen goes to India every summer to visit family. A couple of summers ago, she decided to help out in an orphanage near her grandparents' village. The orphanage was divided into the boys' sector and the girls' sector, and she was able to tutor girls ages 3-14 for three hours per day in math, English, environmental science and Hindi.

"They've taught me more than I've taught them," she said. "Knowledge can be found in the most unexpected sources, and it's just the will to seek it that matters."

She learned that the orphanage was going to build an extension to the dormitories and decided to raise funds so that the girls' wing, often excluded because of sexism, also could be expanded. Through informational open houses and contributions from friends and family, she raised $2,600 for the dormitories, which allowed the orphanage to add eight more girls.

"Bright lives need to be fostered so they can reach their ultimate potential," she said. "I live by the Mahatma Gandhi quote, 'Be the change you want to see in the world.' I was giving them the second chance they would have never gotten."

Harleen is interested in working with Doctors Without Borders when she gets older, to continue to bring help to those who don't get it very often.

Harleen is also involved with the global lab, which is a scientific field research group at Beyer. The group has conducted chemical tests on Dry Creek and monitored the ozone layer in Modesto as a way to take science out of the classroom.

In addition, the group has begun a recycling system at Beyer, the profits of which are used to pay for chemicals and trips for the global lab.

Harleen is also the president of Modesto Community Interact, works as a candy striper at Memorial Medical Center, has served on the Modesto Youth Commission for three years and has participated in Mock Trial, tennis and track.

-- VICTORIA PARDINI, TEENS IN THE NEWSROOM

The Teen Hall of Fame honoree receives a $100 check from E.&J. Gallo Winery, movie tickets from Dr. Randy Winter with the Modesto Arts Medical Group, a gift card from Yogurt Mill and bowling passes from Yosemite Lanes.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service