SHELTON — Seniors Siddharth Jain and Ananya Yadav have earned recognition as high school Class of 2020 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Interim Shelton High Principal Kathy Riddle made the announcement about Jain and Yadav, along with the other top 10 academic achievers, as administrators continued to consider how to best recognize the graduating seniors during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Siddharth Jain

“I’m grateful for my four years at Shelton High and have enjoyed every minute of it from football games to spirit weeks to hanging out with friends during our four-minute passing time,” Jain said. “Shelton High has supported all of my endeavors including pursuing advanced courses outside of school.

“I know this isn’t the senior spring we expected,” Jain added, “but we must be resilient through these unprecedented times. During quarantine, we have learned to be adaptable and never take anything for granted. Take this time to connect with new people and form a community distant but together. We are going to come out of this pandemic stronger than before.”

Jain thanked school administrators for being supportive of students and working to hold some type of graduation celebration.

“I have to thank my family,” Jain said. “They have always supported the activities I pursue. I can’t even count the number of days they drove me from one place to another to another so I can attend my activities.

“I’m really enjoying spending more family time with them,” added Jain about his time in quarantine. “We are watching many movies together, grilling, spending time outside, playing tennis — it’s really amazing.”

Jain, who was also a Coca-Cola 2020 Scholar and National Merit finalist, will be attending Yale University, majoring in statistics and data science and economics.

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Remaining top 10 academic SHS students

3. Michael Brown: North Carolina State, meteorology.

4. Brian Dahdal: Sacred Heart University, pre-law or pre-med.

5. William Riordan: UConn, psychology.

6. Jessica Wurms: Rensselaer Polytechnic Instiitute, computer science.

7. Rachel Brown: Fordham, business.

8. Haley Oko: WCSU, education.

9. Leya Vohra: American International College, occupational therapy.

10. Mia Camerino: Boston College, biology/pre-med.

“I hope to apply quantitative analytics to the stock market or to reduce health care disparities for underprivileged communities,” Jain said.

While at Shelton High, Jain founded two math clubs, one at SHS and one at SIS. Through weekly classes, he said, he introduced students to competitive math and developed their problem-solving skills. He is also president of the Future Business Leaders of America and National Honors Society.

Jain is also captain of the SHS Robotics Team and secretary of the Class of 2020. Aside from his school activities, he also did research at Fairfield and Yale universities the past two summers and has been an intern at Sikorsky Credit Union since August 2018.

“I’m really passionate about my community involvement,” said Jain, who worked with many community leaders on the Shelton Community Vision Coalition, a nonpartisan round table discussion group focusing on the vision for the city’s future.

Earlier last year, Jain founded a nonprofit, Benefit Books, to provide underprivileged students with college exam prep books for free. Overall, he has helped donate more than 100 books to students around Connecticut.

When the pandemic forced the state’s shutdown, Jain joined a new nonprofit organization, TeleHealth Access for Seniors, which provides older patients and low-income communities with camera-enabled devices and instructions to connect them to their physicians via TeleHealth.

Jain also started an NHS Book Reading Initiative with high school students recording themselves reading books for elementary school students to make the transition to online learning easier.

“This was completely unforeseen, and I think it’s important to not mourn over losing the last few months our seniors years,” said Jain about the close to their final high school year. “When the time is right, we will celebrate harder and louder as a class than ever before.”

Ananya Yadav

“To my fellow seniors I would like to say that we did it,” said Yadav. “Although this is not exactly the ending we planned, we still made it through four years of hard work.

“We cannot let this current situation bring us down,” said Yadav. “We should be proud of ourselves and celebrate. And to the rest of the students of SHS, you still have some time to go but I know you guys can get through it.”

Beside her stellar academic record, Yadav is president of the science club and co-president of the Spanish club. She is also president of the Spanish National Honors Society.

Yadav is the leader of the awards committee, on the school’s award-winning robotics team and volunteers at various First LEGO League robotics competitions as a judge.

She was also a finance intern at Newman’s Own Foundation. Yadav will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a business analytics major.

“The last three months have been a little stressful … making the switch to online learning and being quarantined in the house,” said Yadav, “however, it has given me the opportunity to spend valuable time with my family.

“I am happy and proud to be salutatorian of the Class of 2020,” added Yadav. “While there is a little disappointment that I won’t be able to do all the things seniors usually do, I still maintain these feelings.”

Remaining top 10 academic SHS students

3. Michael Brown: North Carolina State, meteorology.

4. Brian Dahdal: Sacred Heart University, pre-law or pre-med.

5. William Riordan: UConn, psychology.

6. Jessica Wurms: Rensselaer Polytechnic Instiitute, computer science.

7. Rachel Brown: Fordham, business.

8. Haley Oko: WCSU, education.

9. Leya Vohra: American International College, occupational therapy.

10. Mia Camerino: Boston College, biology/pre-med.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com