The Presidential Honoree Next Door

A Wayzata senior is one of 10 Minnesota high school seniors to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalist.
Top Marks Kush Maheshwari (pictured here at a wedding) is in the running for a prestigious honor.

Wayzata High School student Kush Maheshwari is one of 600 semifinalists nationwide to be considered for the prestigious honor of being named a United States Presidential Scholar. The award recognizes some of the most highly accomplished seniors in the nation. Of the 600 semifinalists, only 10 are from Minnesota, and Maheshwari is the only one from Wayzata High School. One hundred will advance to the finalist stage.

“I was surprised to hear that I was a semifinalist,” says Maheshwari. “There are many other students who have high test scores and are great at writing essays.” But even among high-achieving students, Maheshwari stands out. He scored a perfect 36 on the ACT exam. He participated in research at the University of Minnesota through ISD 287’s Honors Mentor Connection where he studied earthquakes in the southeastern Caribbean ocean.  Maheshwari also took part in research at Boston University through the Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) program, where he worked on investigating variations in the brightness of stars. Maheshwari is also part of the Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl Team which he enjoys, he says, because “it’s a nerdy but tight-knit environment.”

To round out his days, Maheshwari is a fan of the show Parks and Recreation, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and SpongeBob. Kush plays violin in the school orchestra and enjoys reading, with Kurt Vonnegut being one of his newest favorite authors. For the annual Hindu temple’s Diwali celebration, Maheshwari and some friends put together an Indian-fusion dance team and named it The Dream Team.

Kush will be attending the University of California-Berkeley and is planning to major in physics. He is interested in pursuing earth and space science.