Senior Spotlight: Diya Patel

Rida Kadri, Editor-In-Chief

Senior Diya Patel will be leaving her mark at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School this spring when she graduates after a memorable four years. Member of the Girls Tennis Team, American Cancer Society, JFK’s chapter of the Junior State of America and more, Diya will be missed among her teammates and peers as she moves onto college. 

The Growth of Four Years

Diya Patel went through immense character development in her years at JFK, blossoming into a more open and interactive individual. 

“I was this shy, meek, quiet, nerdy, introverted girl who only talked to her set group of friends… because I was afraid of people, but going into senior year, I realized how everyone has such different views and personalities and that if you constrict yourself to just a certain group of people, you won’t grow as a person,” Patel stated.

“I learned how to interact with others. I learned how to accept different opinions from mine, open[ed] myself up more and it made me more open minded,” Patel said.


Patel was a valuable asset to the JFK Girls Tennis Team for four years, completing her last season as captain this fall. Being one of the few seniors who stayed on the team for all of their high school years, tennis had a heavy impact on her experience at JFK. 

“I was in it for just the tennis aspect of it, competition, winning games… amazing stuff that everybody wants… but as I continued to play tennis and try out for the team every year, I realized that girls tennis had one of the most encouraging, and the kindest players I’ve ever come across, and it became more of a family to me than a team,” Patel stated.

As an underclassmen, Patel explained that she had incredible mentors that guided her to become a better player and teacher for future years. Winner of the Mustang Award in the 2022 season, Patel encompassed all aspects of sportsmanship and improvement, making her a valuable member of the team. She expressed her sadness in leaving the team she calls her family, but noted it is left in good hands for the future.

Extracurricular Activities

Besides Tennis, Diya is also involved in a variety of extracurriculars at JFK including American Cancer Society, Student Council and Junior State of America. She is also part of the Science, Spanish, and National Honors Society. 

Diya expresses her passion for Kennedy’s chapter of JSA, holding the position of vice president after being the Secretary of Minutes last year as a junior “where [she] would take notes on the debate topics and different views people would have.” 

Notable Achievements

As Patel explored her passions, she discovered her love for service work and dedicated her time outside of school towards becoming an EMT. She described this experience as being the best achievement she accomplished in the past four years.

“I was overwhelmed when I started high school because I thought I had all these stereotypes I had to fill about myself about what I should do, and what I shouldn’t do, but one thing I did always do was I listened to my heart and I did what I always felt passionate about,” Patel stated. “I’m most proud of joining the Woodbridge Township Ambulance and Rescue Squad because I went to EMT school which was very, very difficult, and it took a toll on me mentally and physically, but I loved the outcome because I was able to become an EMT.”

Diya expresses her love for what she does with enthusiasm and love, riding overnight shifts and going on calls in the ambulance to help patients. 

Covid-19 Impact

Having to undergo virtual learning due to Covid-19 as a junior, Diya described her struggles during the pandemic from an academic standpoint. 

“[Junior year] is one of the hardest years ever and you need to actually focus and pay attention in all of your classes but I feel like in online school, everyone’s ADHD just went crazy,” Patel explained. “And no one was able to focus. I would be online sitting at my desk, playing with my pencil while the teacher would be giving us an important lesson, and I thought that took away from my learning experience so much, and I wasn’t able to grasp the concepts as easily as I used to before.”

While having these struggles with school, Diya emphasizes that quarantine wasn’t all negative as “[she] realized that even if [she] didn’t see [her] friends, [she] was still very close to them.”

“We all did Google Meets, we did Zooms, we held study sessions, we played games online for hours together and we just talked with each other, so although it affected my educational part of school negatively, it made my relationships stronger with my friends because I realized distance doesn’t really matter,” Patel stated.

Favorite Memories and Best Events at JFK

Diya Patel has many memorable experiences she will cherish even when she leaves these doors as Kennedy alumni. Besides bonding nights with the Girls Tennis Team, Diya loved going to the Masquerade dances at JFK.

“Go to those, you definitely have to go to the Masquerade dances,” Patel stated. “Don’t miss them because I missed one of them and I was so sad.” 

She explained her love for this event and encouraged everyone to attend. “You get to dress up as whoever you want [and] we had group costumes and competitions and we just danced our hearts out at night,” Patel stated. 

In addition to the Masquerade Dance, one of Diya’s favorite memories at JFK are the football games. 

“When I tell you that our school has so much Mustang pride, it’s crazy,” Patel stated. “I’ve never seen another school be so passionate about their team and so into motivating their team to do better, so the football games were so amazing, especially the Homecoming games. When the queen nominees would get walked down, and everyone would be there, either in their pink-out, or their mustang clothes with their facepaint… just waiting for the winner to be announced… We always had food with us. I love that JFK allowed food on the stands because I don’t think I would’ve made it without that.”

Lastly, Diya expressed how much she would miss the Breakfast With Santa events at JFK. “I love little children and when the little kids came and did their paintings with the reindeers and gingerbread cookies and they played knock the pins down with little elf balls, I thought it was the cutest thing,” Patel stated. Her love and wholesome nature will be greatly missed at these events. 

Special Thank-You’s

Walking into high school as a shy and introverted girl, Diya would like to shout out some of the teachers that molded her years at Kennedy. 

Starting off with Mr. Kaul, Diya expressed her gratitude toward him as being a mentor and guide in her life. “Whether you go through difficult times or you’re having trouble with an assignment, or you’re having trouble with issues you are dealing with on your own, he is there to walk you through it and help you and listen to your problems,” Patel stated. She explained how he never put unnecessary pressure on her and is more than grateful for having him as a teacher. 

“Another teacher that has been very impactful for me has been Ms. McKeever because she has been one of the most understanding teachers I’ve ever met,” Patel stated. “She will talk to you about how you’re feelings and I think that’s such a distinctive quality she has.” 

Lastly, Diya gives a warm thank you to Ms. Sienk and Ms. McCaig stating, “they are just the happiest people on the planet, and they brighten up my day every single time I walk into their class, and I couldn’t ask for better teachers to hype me up.”

Best advice to underclassmen

The best advice Diya could give to underclassmen is, “no matter how overwhelming high school gets, high school is not above your mental health, and that if your mental health is being drained or tarnished, then you need to put everything aside and focus on that,” Patel states.

She notes how helpful the guidance department is and how Ms. Blauvelt has been very encouraging towards her. Diya advises underclassmen to reach out if they are struggling with any problem, and always prioritize their mental health.

Future plans after graduation

After graduation this spring, Diya plans on furthering her education by studying neuroscience. Although college decisions are not out yet, she wants to attend Boston University. Patel plans on becoming a doctor in the future as she has “always been very captivated by medicine because of the aspect of helping people.”

As Diya winds up the school year at JFK, we wish her the best of luck for the future!