We hung out with one top scholar who's also "tops" in technology.
"Hello. My name is Romi Phadte. I study at Santa Teresa High School. I live in San Jose. I will be studying electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley in the fall," he says. "I've really developed a passion for technology and for learning."
Romi is on a mission to use his passion for math and science to make technology better. Right now, he considers himself a tinkerer. "I like to play with things. I have old remotes. I have a whole bunch of electronics that I just take apart and put different stuff together. I like to make cool stuff." For example, he made his room a "smart" room. He says he was inspired by imagination and laziness.
"I was trying to see whether I could automate my room, make it intelligent, you know. When I'm in there, turn on and turn off the lights depending on what I was doing in the room and such," he said. "It never seemed to work. It would always fall apart. I used hot glue. I used tape. I used tears. Nothing seemed to work."
But it did work, eventually. "It was a lot of fun. It showed me that engineering is more trial and error and hard work rather than necessarily straight on intelligence, and that's really a life lesson that I'm going to keep for years to come," he says.
As president of Santa Theresa's Robotics Club, Romi led his team to create the school's resident robot, programmed to collect, point, and accurately shoot basketballs… most the time. "The passion to know that you can really make something incredible out of just a few discreet tools, that really caught on to me. Engineering is where I belong," he says.
"One of the things I love about Romi is he loves to learn. He's always asking these interesting questions. He's just a very unique student. I mean, he knows what he likes and he goes for it," teacher Debra Dimas says.
Creativity is not something this Top Scholar lacks, but he says exploring that part of himself involves jumping into the pool and into his music. "I get to play different music pieces. My favorite to play on the saxophone is definitely jazz. It's a lot of fun and it gives a way for me to unwind from my activities, from the constant stress of learning and pounding at the textbooks," he says.
"I like to help people. I try to motivate those around me to succeed and to strive for success," says the top scholar, technology buff, tinkerer, and tutor.
Congratulations to Romi Phadte for his amazing accomplishments.
Join ABC7 on Sunday, June 17, at 10 a.m. for a half-hour special on all seven of our top scholars this year.