By Pooja Magavi
During Shiri Bogomolny's 10 years at the San Diego Jewish Academy, she has stood out as a leader among her peers. Shiri was recognized as such when she received the Rensselaer Paul and Kathleen Severino Future Leaders Award in October 2007.
"(The award included) a scholarship to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (in New York) and an all-expenses-paid trip to a symposium on women and entrepreneurship at the university," she said.
A student at SDJA since she was in second grade, Shiri is both a National Advanced Placement Scholar and National Merit Scholarship Finalist. She has taken an impressive 16 AP exams during her high school career, earning an average score of four out of five on all of them.
Shiri is not only strong in academics, but also strived to contribute to student life at SDJA. Her role as president of SDJA's Associated Student Body (ASB) since her freshman year exemplifies her leadership capabilities.
"While I was president, we obtained off-campus lunch privileges for seniors and organized multiple assemblies, one of which was a ballet with recycling bins to introduce the new recycling program at our school," Shiri said. "(The position has) really taught me about responsibility and following through."
"It doesn't take adults or peers long to realize that they want to be part of (Shiri's) team," said Susan Wu, a humanities teacher at the academy who has known Shiri for five years.
Wu said that her AP Art History, AP European History and AP U.S. History student has grown over the years by embracing the "big picture" in her endeavors.
"In eighth grade Shiri and I sat down to talk about concerns that an intense perfectionism could lead to future unhappiness. She listened to that conversation and year by year, I saw a happier, more balanced student who somehow managed to pursue numerous interests with great success," Wu said.
"No one - not one single student in my entire 10 years of teaching - has ever demonstrated the excellence that Shiri consistently displays in all aspects of her life."
Shiri recently traveled to Israel with the SDJA class of 2009. The trip lasted 5 1/2 weeks and included visits to the Dead Sea and Negev.
"I connected with the land and with my Judaism and was reminded of the importance of passing traditions on from generation to generation. I also connected with my classmates and learned about cooperation and living with others, just in time for college," Shiri said.
As far as her future is concerned, Shiri will attend the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in the fall.
"I hope to enter the hospitality and entertainment industry and eventually work in the field of management or convention planning," she said. But until then, she plans to join a student council of sorts to remain involved in her community in Philadelphia.