With an inexhaustible list of accomplishments, Peachtree Ridge senior Sumedh Garimella epitomizes a successful student. He’s a National AP Scholar. He’s ranked in the top 3% of his class. He’s vice president of an FBLA chapter. He’s a math, quiz bowl, and spelling bee champion.
But Garimella’s more than just an inexhaustible list of accomplishments. Behind every award and accolade lies adversity, and most importantly, an insatiable hunger to achieve.
Success has never come easily to Garimella. Born to Indian immigrants, he was an outsider to the bustling American cities he called home. He was diagnosed with mild autism, making it difficult for him to communicate with others.
In spite of his setbacks, Garimella’s unwavering desire to succeed burns brightly to those around him. “Sumedh is determined to solve things others give up on,” math teammate Shawn Im says.
Garimella refuses to let obstacles define him. “I definitely have used my opportunities in high school to overcome my problems with social skills,” he says.
To Garimella, every failure and challenge is only one step closer to success. In seventh grade, he lost the school spelling bee by misspelling “subsidy,” a word he thought he knew. However, the crushing blow of failure was dampened by perseverance. “I learned to compete to improve and push myself and my abilities, rather than for others’ expectations,” he says.
The next year, Garimella returned stronger than ever, winning the entire Georgia spelling bee.
At seventeen, Garimella already dreams of creating a Silicon Valley startup. But for now, he’s busy exploring the world in any way possible, from producing his own music to volunteering, all to continuously learn and grow.
Photo Credit: Madhuri Namuduri