Karthikeyan breaks records; highest GPA in OHS history

Karthikeyan breaks records; highest GPA in OHS history

Winnie Wilson, editor-in-chief

Oxford High School senior Keerthin Karthikeyan has been an avid member of Oxford High School and the larger Oxford community throughout his adolescent years, accomplishing more by the end of his senior year than many do in a lifetime. Karthikeyan has uncovered award winning scientific findings, met the former president of the United States, and attained the highest GPA in Oxford High School history all while dual enrolling as a student at OHS and the University of Mississippi.

Karthikeyan’s success started at a young age, as he joined the Boy Scouts of America organization and made history for the Oxford chapter.

“A big part of my life was boy scouts. I started out as a cub scout back in 3rd grade and then I became a boy scout at the end of 5th grade. I wasn’t really interested in boy scouts or cub scouts at first, I joined because there was a recruiter at Oxford Elementary School who tried to bribe us with a really cool flashlight and I thought it was cool so I joined,” Karthikeyan said. “Now, it’s changed my life so as I got into boy scouts I dove into it more after seeing all of the opportunities that come with it and I wanted to see how far I could go. I ended up getting 101 merit badges which is the highest in Oxford, maybe even Mississippi history.”

Each year there’s an annual report that the Boy Scouts of America has to give to the president and speaker of the house because it originally was funded by the government so they required a report to see if they should continue. Eventually the boy scouts split from the government, but the report still held its tradition and Karthikeyan had the honor of delivering this report.

“I ended up going to D.C. in 2020 as I was selected out of 2 million scouts to give the report. It was me and 13 others. I got in because of my eagle project which was building a flag retirement drop box for the Oxford area which is situated at the OPD,” Karthikeyan said. “I also did a science fair project in the eighth grade where I turned styrofoam into carbon because styrofoam is really unhealthy for the environment. This hit the lightbulbs of the central office for boy scouts and they asked me if I wanted to take part in this reporting.”

This science project has proven to be extremely beneficial in Karthikeyan’s progression both as a student and professionally. Karthikeyan has gained mass exposure through these findings.

“One of my judges at the science fair really liked my project and ended up offering me a job, so I get to work at the USDA Sanitation Lab which is really nice because it is a government facility and I can get my name on research papers. I am writing a publication right now and hopefully getting a patent on the process for styro-carbon,” Karthikeyan said.

Karthikeyan’s learning and pursuit of knowledge isn’t just limited to the school year. He has also immersed himself in numerous summer programs, one of many being Lott Leadership which is a selective program that aims to develop leadership skills in youth.

“Lott Leadership was my favorite summer camp that I had ever been to. There’s so many experiences that each came together to create a memorable picture. You take parts of people and ingrain it within yourself; it’s like a mosaic of every single person that I met and creates who you are,” Karthikeyan said. “Lott had a big impact on me in that regard.”

Karthikeyan made OHS history this year earning a 4.76 GPA, placing himself at the top of the class of 2023 and earning the title of valedictorian.

“Valedictorian was a thing that I really wanted. It was there and I didn’t know if I could get it or not because there was so much competition in the grade overall but I wanted to see how much effort I could put in and whether the effort would be enough to get valedictorian,” Karthikeyan said.

Achieving this recognition is no small task, as students must go above and beyond in academic pursuit to rank at the top of their class. Karthikeyan mentions that the work put in was beneficial in many regards, however personal growth was the biggest factor.

“It was more of a thing that was testing my limits and pushing myself to see what my actual limits were and whether that was taking 9 summer classes in a semester or finishing a yearlong class in one week. It was one of those things to see what could be done and whether it was possible. Thankfully, it was,” Karthikeyan said. “More so than receiving valedictorian, what was important to me was seeing that I could do that and it wasn’t a limit for me. It was worth it because it showed me where my true limits lie.”

Karthikeyan plans to attend a four year university before pursuing a graduate degree in either the medical or law field. While he hasn’t decided on his next step, he strives to be ambitious in his academic pursuits regardless of location.

“I’m looking to go to a university and double or triple major, specifically double majoring in neuroscience and public policy leadership and maybe if my mental health is still good taking up either a minor or major in international studies and along the way pick up a couple of minors. The reason why I am doing a diverse major set of neuroscience and public policy is because I am undecided as to whether I want to go to medical school path or a law school path and those hit both,” Karthikeyan said. “I also want to go to grad school, and either go the medical school path or a law school path. If I want to go the medical path I want to become a neurosurgeon and if I go the law school path I want to become an international lawyer.”

Karthikeyan is grateful for the opportunities he has been offered and remains humbled by his accomplishments, as he is reminded of the numerous life lessons he has encountered throughout his childhood.

“Enjoy sleep while you have it. Don’t set limits for yourself. Understand that the effort you put in is a direct result of your own will to do better,” Karthikeyan said. “The only thing stopping you from achieving what you want is yourself.”