by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Spark Photography

School, Service, & Dance

student_panda3Sameeksha Panda is accustomed to being recognized as a student star. “I have always been recognized for academic excellence and outstanding conduct since elementary school,” she said. Between her outstanding GPA, loyal volunteer service, and steadfast dance training, Sameeksha has earned every accolade through hard work and commitment.

A senior at Del Norte High School, Sameeksha has received awards at the district and regional levels. “Recently, I was awarded the FACE (Fraternity of Academic and Civic Excellence) award by Poway Unified School District given to high school seniors with the top 30 GPAs,” she shared. She has also been selected as a National Merit Finalist for 2018 and a National AP scholar. Through her involvement in Key Club, the student-led high school division of Kiwanis International, Sameeksha has been voted “Officer of the Month” and “Club Mom” by her peers.

“I don’t think there’s anything else I’m more grateful for that I’ve done in my life.”

Through Key Club, Sameeksha has served in a variety of volunteer capacities, from beach cleanups to the Walk for Psoriasis. “My favorite events that I’ve done through this club would have to be the local events at the elementary schools,” she shared. “Whether it’s making sundaes at a Valentine’s Day dance or showing off experiments on a science night, I always enjoy spending time with the kids and seeing them have a good time as well.” Over the last year, Sameeksha has also been volunteering in the ER at an acute care hospital.


Name: Sameeksha Panda (18)
School: Del Norte High School
Grade: 12
Parents: Sarita and Prasanjit Panda
Sibling: Taneesha Panda
Favorite Place in 92127: Underneath the bridge near the Del Sur Ranch House


Outside of school and volunteering, Sameeksha is committed to her training in Bharatanatyam, a type of traditional Indian dance. “Bharatanatyam is one of the most rigorous and difficult dance forms and requires hours of concentrated practice. Initially, it was very tough,” she admitted. “I continued taking classes though, partially because my mom pushed me to, partially because I was sometimes fed during lessons, and partially because when it didn’t hurt, it was kind of fun.” Sameeksha is in her 12th year of training, and she acknowledged, “I don’t think there’s anything else I’m more grateful for that I’ve done in my life.”

While she certainly has a lot to boast about, Sameeksha remains humble. “I admire all of the amazing accomplishments people have done; it makes me question what I can do to contribute to the world.” This fall she is headed to one of the UCs, although she hasn’t decided which one yet, and plans to become a psychiatrist.