May 7, 2014

Teen Hall of Fame-Henna Hundal, Junior Turlock High School

Teen Hall of Fame: Henna Hundal, junior, Turlock High School

“The most joyous part of my high school career is the privilege of reaching out to others.” This single statement sums up the mission of multifaceted, involved and sincere Henna Hundal.

Hundal wants to make the most of her high school career, but not in the usual way of attending all sports games, making new friends, or going to the prom. To her, “making the most” means helping as many people as she can and taking as many opportunities as possible to enrich herself.

Hundal is an active junior at Turlock High School, where she is taking four Advanced Placement classes and participates heavily in many clubs. The average involved student’s list of accomplishments would end there, but Hundal goes above and beyond, participating in many outside activities and giving back whenever she can.

She was described as “not only an outstanding student but also an exceptional citizen, leader and individual” by her nominator, George Claire. Claire notes that in her free time, “Henna is an accomplished pianist, where her focus is classical pieces such as Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Liszt.”

Also, “as busy as she is, Henna still enjoys her time hanging out with her peers and being a regular teenager,” Claire says. In all she does, she can “manage a conversation with a room full of adults,” as well as “keep younger kids occupied for hours.”

Claire states that those who know Hundal know that she has mastered the elusive art of time management, yet is always more than willing to lend a helping hand. She knows how to create the perfect balance of academics, extracurriculars and helping others, while pursuing her passions.

One of Hundal’s passions is journalism. Her love for writing is not merely dreams: she boasts publication in The Modesto Bee through the Teens in the Newsroom program, the Turlock Journal as a youth columnist, the online Huffington Post and Yahoo! Voices. She says writing sparks her interest “because of the notion of pouring out your thoughts, visions and ideas and coloring a blank slate with your words.”

Hundal is also interested in science. Last summer, it took her to the campus of UC Davis for the college’s California State Summer School for Math and Science program.

Hundal applied for the opportunity online and modestly remarked that the process required “two or three essays when applying, but otherwise that’s pretty much it.” There, she was part of the biotechnology team, learning “the tools and tricks of the field.”

One of the more memorable labs involved testing food at a UC Davis dining commons for genetically modified organisms, a truly “eye-opening and mind-blowing” experience.

Hundal is president of the Turlock High Medi-Careers Club, a group that participates in health work and has booths on campus during lunch. She is also involved in the Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco coalition, where health-related information is linked to science and the facts behind the dangers of tobacco are illuminated.

Hundal wants to merge her two main passions, science and writing, into a career. It is plain to see that she does not have much free time, and it proved difficult to schedule a phone interview, even over spring break, without conflicting with one of her many commitments.

However, she does not seem to mind a full schedule, and notes: “I have so many passions and I want to delve into all that I can. When you are young, there are so many opportunities, and I want to take all of them.”

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