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NRI Student Vasant Iyer, a Perfect SAT Scorer Wins Top Heritage Award

Long Beach, April 28, 2013

: In a glittering ceremony at Hilton Hotel, Long Beach, Vasant Iyer of Thousand Oaks with perfect score in SAT won the top award and revolving trophy in the high school category at the 27th annual Indian American Heritage Foundation awards function.

Vasant Iyer in exclusive interview with NRIpress's representative, said:


(Left) Ashok Madan and his wife Manju presented the revolving trophy “Profiles in Excellence” instituted in memory of Ashok’s parents, Thakar Singh and Shanti Rani Madan.

The award has been instituted by Sanjiv & Rajesh Chopra in memory of their parents Sarla & Kishan Gopal Chopra. Ashok Madan and his wife Manju presented the revolving trophy “Profiles in Excellence” instituted in memory of Ashok’s parents, Thakar Singh and Shanti Rani Madan. Sandeep Kambhampati of Irvine won the top award in Middle school category. Sunil Tolani who funded the award and the revolving trophy presented the award and trophy to the winner.

The second place winner in high school category was Deeksha Goel of Redlands while the third place winner was Nikeeta Shah of Cerritos. The next seven winners were Anshal Gupta, Deven Patel, Vighnesh Iyer, Spandana Madhava, Kirav Patel, Shilpa Mantri and Bansari Patel. The second place winner in the middle school category this year, was Agam Vadecha while the third place winner was Sasha Singh. The fourth and fifth place winners were Shaina Patel and Jay Garg  respectively. Sasha Singh also won the Visual and Performing Arts award instituted by Mollie Rachna Singh in honor of  “Teachers, parents and family.” Both award check and plaque were presented to Sasha Singh by Rachna Singh who specially flew from Seattle to present the award.

The fifth place academic award winner Deven Patel won the Outstanding Achievement Award and revolving trophy in Math, Science and Technology instituted by Dr. Mani Bhaumik in recognition of the “most important numeral ZERO invented in India.” Anshal Gupta won the Outstanding Achievement Award and revolving trophy in community service instituted by Dr. Rajesh Kadakia in memory of Maniben Manilal Kadakia. Nikeeta Shah won the award in Visual & Performing Arts and was also given revolving trophy instituted by Kumar Jawa of India Sweets and Spices, in memory of his father, Jiwan Dass Jawa. Kirav Patel  won the Outstanding Achievement Award in Sports instituted by Jack Khangura in memory of his wife Rajinder Khangura. Kirav also received revolving trophy for excellence in sports instituted by Dr. M.C. Gupta of Corona in memory of his father Shri RBL Gupta. Both award and trophy were presented by PJ Khangura on behalf of his father Jagdish Khangura. Other sponsors who attended the annual event and presented awards to the young winners included IT professional Simi Singh, Harbhajan Samra, Ranjit Bhatia, Dr Satinder Bhatia and VJ Singh. Donor Munish Makkar also presented the awards.

The Indian American Heritage Foundation has been recognizing the achievements of Indian Youth, graduating from High and Middle Schools in Southern California for the past 27 years. The Foundation is the leading Indian American organization in the USA to publicly recognize, reward and celebrate excellence of the community’s best and brightest graduating students in Southern California. Prof. Phillip Clayton, Dean of Faculty, Claremont Lincoln University, was the keynote speaker. His speech was very motivational and touched several hearts.

The Foundation started with eight scholarship awards and now twenty scholarships are given -- nine academic excellence awards ranging from $2000 to $500 in the high school category, five ranging from $500 to $100 in the junior high/middle school category, four of $500 each for Outstanding Achievement Awards in math and science, sports, community service, visual and performing arts in high school category and one of $250 in visual and performing arts for the middle school category. Applicant – Vasant Iyer – also get $100 for having perfect score in SAT.

To qualify for the awards, the applicants must have GPA equal to B or higher, at least one parent of Indian origin, and be a graduate from a Southern California school. For high school category, GPA and SAT were evaluated at 70 percent while extra-curricular activities and quiz on India and Indian Americans were each evaluated at 15 percent.  

The annual event has been made possible with the committed support of some well meaning people from the community including Ashok & Manju Madan, Dr. M.C & Usha Gupta, VJ & Simi Singh, Dr. C. R. Viswanathan,  Harbhajan Singh Samra,  Jagdish Khangura,  Kumar Jawa of India Sweets & Spices, Dr. M.L. Bhaumik, Mollie Rachna Singh, Dr. Rajesh Kadakia,  Sanjiv & Renu Chopra, Dr. Satinder–Ranjit Bhatia, Uma-Avadesh Agarwal, Sunil Tolani and BU Patel. Four donors, Munish Makkar of Ambala Cash and Carry, Vas and Kusum Arora, Uma and Satsh Chander and Nishat Ahmed supported the event. All the sponsors were introduced through a Power Point presentation by Simi Singh and Ranjit Bhatia, both co-sponsors along with their spouses.

In the entertainment program, Vasant Iyer presented a short Carnatic violin piece while Sneha Krish  presented Bharat Natyam dance. Shaina Patel & Shane Patel  presented a very upbeat fusion dance. Three dance items were presented by by Corinne, Kara, Savannah and Jennifer of Bollywood Style Performers. At the end of each item, the performers received sustained applause for their very lively performance. Kewal Kanda  & Ajmer Singh managed the stage and emceed the cultural extravaganza.

Inder Singh, Foundation president thanked all the sponsors who provided necessary funding for the continuity of the awards program. He particularly thanked the panel of judges – Ashok Madan,  Amrit Bhandari, Aparna Hande, Krish Chalat, Prof. Keshav Patel, Kewal Kanda,  Manju Madan, Dr Manoj Shah,  V.J. Singh,  Vandana Shah, Anil Verma and Yash Singh  – who undertook the grueling task of evaluating the applicants. He praised his “working Crew” -- team of volunteers -- who have been working hard to make the event a success. He said, “An individual, howsoever brilliant, intelligent and smart, would find it difficult, if not impossible to match the collaborative efforts of an effective team and he is blessed with a team which has been providing selfless service for the cause of our youth.” His team included Abdulgani Shaikh, Ajmer Singh, Ashok Madan, Dr. Mallappa Yerasi, Deepi Singh, Kewal Kanda,  Amrit Bhandari, Dilip Butani,  Aparna Hande, Yash Singh,  Keshav Patel, Anil Verma, and Sangita Chauhan.





Scholarship Awards for Graduating Students

Los Angeles, April 07, 2013

Applications are now being accepted from qualified High School and Middle/Junior High School students graduating in the year 2013 for scholarship awards to be presented at the 27th Annual India Heritage Awards function slated for April 28, 2013 at the Long Beach Hilton, Long Beach, California.

Started in 1987, the Indian American Heritage Foundation has been sponsoring the annual event to celebrate the accomplishments of High school and Middle school graduates of Asian Indian descent in academic, sports, community service, visual and performing arts, and science and technology. The Foundation is at the forefront among Indian American organizations in publicly recognizing, rewarding and celebrating excellence of the community’s best and brightest graduating students.

As many as twenty two scholarships will be handed over to qualified students at the India Heritage Awards function. Ninescholarships ranging from $2000 to $500 will be given to the winning graduates in the High School Academic category, while four Outstanding Achievement Awards of $500 each shall be presented to applicants excelling in Math & Science, sports, community service and visual and performing arts. An applicant who obtains perfect score on the quiz and/or SAT shall each get a special award of $100 each. Besides the cash prizes, the first place winner in the academic, Science, sports, community service and visual and performing arts will each receive a revolving trophy with his/her name inscribed on it. In the Middle School category, five scholarships ranging from $500 to $150 for excellence in academics and one of $250 for excellence in visual and performing arts will be given.

An applicant for the award must be graduating in the year 2013 from a Southern California school and have at least one parent of Asian Indian origin. For Outstanding Achievement Awards in Math & Science, sports, community service and visual and performing arts, GPA should be C or higher while for the Academic Excellence Awards, GPA must be equal to B or higher. The scholarship awards are based on SAT score (Star or similar test for Middle School), GPA, extra-curricular activities and a quiz on India (based on reading material provided by the Foundation). The quiz is given one week prior to the event.  An independent panel of judges selects the finalists and the winners are informed ahead of time. Each winner must be present with at least one parent at the function, to receive the award.