by Bart Jones, Newsday, originally published 5/11/14
A St. Anthony’s High School student who scored a perfect 2400 on the SATs and is headed to Harvard University in the fall is spending what would have been his senior year in an unusual place — tutoring disadvantaged students in Queens.
Akash Nandi, 18, of Woodbury, finished high school by the end of his junior year and even had time to take college-level math courses at Stony Brook University while still at St. Anthony’s. But instead of starting full-time college early, he joined an AmeriCorps organization to offer a year of national service by helping students in the Long Island City neighborhood.
He leaves home at 5:25 a.m. on weekdays and returns by 7:30 p.m. He calls it the toughest, but most satisfying, year of his young life. “It’s a powerful experience,” Nandi said. “It’s harder than going to school. It’s a completely different ballgame.” Nandi is the youngest volunteer in City Year New York, which this year has 294 members between 18 and 24 years old serving as full-time tutors, mentors and role models in 22 public schools. They receive a $1,100 monthly stipend for 11-hour work days.
St. Anthony’s officials say Nandi is the type of student the South Huntington Catholic school aims to produce. “Akash is one of those rare individuals who has been inspired early to seek deeper truths,” said Brother Gary Cregan, the school’s principal. “It is joyful to have a young man like Akash in our school. We know he will do great things in the future.”
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