Vashista "Vashi" Chintalapalli
School: Pleasant Valley High School
Parents: Hemalatha Pidathala and Venkat Chintalapalli
Why was student nominated: Music teacher David Baxter said, "I nominated Vashi for his work for the QCA branch of the #NeverAgain movement, whose goal is to explore ways to prevent events like the Parkland shooting, focusing on school safety and gun regulation. While his passion toward these issues is admirable, I am more impressed with the civility and open mind with which he approaches these difficult and controversial conversations. He is more than willing to hear and understand others' opinions, and he expresses his views with a welcoming tone, eye contact, and well-stated points. Regardless of one's stance on guns, Vashi is a fine example of the leadership we hope to cultivate in students. I am proud to see him use his skills to advocate for what he believes in while inspiring his peers to do the same."
What are you most proud of? "I’m most proud of the leadership we have in the #NeverAgain branch in the Quad-Cities. I’m glad to have such a fantastic team helping me advocate for a collective cause, especially Lily Williams who is co-leading the Pleasant Valley movement with me."
What makes you happy? "Change — seeing our community working together on a common issue. In my spare time, I enjoy writing/filming/directing and being part of a FTC robotics team."
What teacher has inspired you and why? "Francis Dunbar and William Myatt. Filmography and directing are both huge passions of mine. These two teachers have inspired and mentored me to pursue my interests. The music and English departments have greatly supported me along the journey of the #NeverAgain movement."
What is your reaction to honor? "I am thankful that student voices are being heard. I wouldn’t have been able to help lead the Q-C movement without the support of students and staff here at Pleasant Valley. I am honored to be bringing change with such a great group of people."