Senior Divya Wadhwani remembered fondly

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Senior Divya Wadhwani remembered fondly

Annissa Bensalah, Features Editor

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Cal High senior Divya Wadhwani passed away due to a debilitating muscle disorder. She lost her battle to mitochondrial myopathy on Jan. 16.

Divya had been battling the disease since she was a toddler, and had been in the hospital undergoing treatment on and off since April 2014.

Although she had faced many challenges, Divya never let anything stop her from living her life to the fullest.

“Despite her medical challenges, Divya was a hardworking and intelligent girl who was always full of life,” said Divya’s father Mahesh Wadhwani. “She never, ever complained or was disillusioned by her physical limitations.”

Anyone who knew Divya will confirm that she was incredibly kind-hearted and optimistic.

“She always exuded positivity and friendliness,” said senior Morgan Yee. “Divya truly exemplified someone with inner beauty.”

A gifted and talented girl, Divya worked hard at school and was always eager to learn.

Even when her myopathy prevented her from attending school, she completed all of her work from home and kept up her good grades.

“For those who knew Divya, they would tell you that she loved school and Cal High was her favorite place to be,” Principal Sarah Wondolowski wrote in an email to staff members.

Divya maintained a high GPA, and she was a member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation, two prestigious academic clubs.

Her favorite school subjects were computer arts and science.

Her studious attitude, strong work ethic and kind personality inspired all of her teachers.

She earned the Grizzly award her sophomore year.

“She was a person whose inner light showed through her outer body, and she really made me very happy every time I was with her,” said Joanna Condon, who teaches principles of biomedical science. “She was a very determined young woman, and made sure she asked for help understanding the concepts underlying the science, not just what the answers were to the assignments. She was certainly very smart and asked excellent questions.”

Divya had many passions and hobbies in life. One of her favorite activities was display her artistic side.

In her free time, she enjoyed drawing and painting.

“In elementary, middle and high school, she participated in many art and drawing contests and won many certificates and prizes,” said Wadhwani.

She loved listening and playing music. In elementary school, she participated in the band and played the flute.

Divya was a talented writer who enjoyed writing poetry.

She also rode horses at SonRise Equestrian, a non-profit therapeutic riding program in Danville, until March 2014.

Like many teens, Divya liked to relax by watching television and reading books.

“She had a strong passion for watching Hindi tele serials and movies,” said Wadhwani.

Divya was an avid reader, and volunteered at the San Ramon Library. Her love of books began at an early age.

“As a young child she attended many of the library’s events,” said librarian Amy Mockoski.  “We loved getting to know her and her family.”

One way Divya helped the library was by promoting the library’s Summer Reading Program.

“Divya was excellent at explaining the program and encouraging kids to read over the summer,” said Mockoski. “She always approached her volunteer work with good humor and a smile.”

Divya’s work at the library not only benefited the children whom she encouraged to read, but it also inspired the San Ramon library staff.

“We were always very impressed with how much she had to deal with and yet how positive she remained,” said Mockoski. “She was a shining, positive example in this community and the San Ramon library staff will miss her greatly.”

Divya was also a member of Cal’s Beauty Insiders Club, which focuses on promoting students’ inner and outer beauty. Divya loved nail art and enjoyed getting manicures at the salon every month.

“For the club, she was involved in fundraising activities to benefit the Monument Crisis Center as well as fun activities such as manicure day,” said Condon. “Everyone in Beauty Insiders admired Divya’s positive attitude and sense of humor.”

It was clear to all of Divya’s friends and fellow students what a wonderful and kind person she was.

“Divya was one of the sweetest girls ever,” said senior Morgan Ham. “She was extremely soft spoken and there was a sense of purity she kept her entire life.”

She was also quite driven and had ambitious hopes for the future.

“My ambition is to become a doctor,” wrote Divya in one of her poems.

To prepare for a career in medicine, she enrolled in Biomedical Sciences Pathway classes, such as Human Body Systems and Principles of Biomedical Science.

“Divya loved science, especially medical science, and hoped to someday work in the medical science field,” said Condon. “She understood the real-life careers in the medical sciences more than most teenagers due to her experiences as a patient at Stanford Hospital.”

Her optimism and ability to make the best of an unfortunate situation were evident to all who knew her.

“She was always genuine and I always loved seeing her smile,” said Ham. “She was always happy and truly a great person!”

Divya was an inspiration to both students and adults alike, and her positive impact on this school will live on for many years to come.