At just 17 years old, Taher Khambati already has many accomplishments he’s proud of.
He placed top 20 in the world at an international DECA competition, starting his own non-profit called “More Than a Scholar Inc.,” and successfully working on a research team at Florida Atlantic University that reverse-engineered a protein to detect a counterfeit drug.
“Everything and anything that I’ve done has always revolved around the fundamental goal of helping people, and that’s exactly what I strive to accomplish throughout my life,” said Taher Khambati, valedictorian of Spanish River High School.
In addition to a 4.0 grade-point average (5.283 HPA), Khambati earned the Pre-Calculus Award of Excellence, AP Human Geography Award of Excellence, AP Computer Science Award of Excellence and the Harvard Book Award.
His college is undecided, but he plans to major in biomedical engineering or computer science. He hopes to be a neurosurgeon and start his own computer science company before he graduates from medical school.
“I think my drive and motivation is the main thing that’s led me to get to where I am today,” Khambati said. “I also think that my ability to not let stress get the best of me and knowing when to have fun and when to focus has also proved to be extremely important when it comes to academics and life in general.”
Among his school activities, Khambati was president of HOSA, co-founder of the fundraiser More Than A Scholar Inc., and held several leadership positions with DECA.
He also ran “Connecting with Cops” with the Boca Raton Police Dept. to help mend the relationships between teenagers and local law enforcement. He was captain of the junior varsity volleyball team and co-president of National Science Honor Society.
He finished top 10 in the chemistry competition of the Science Olympiad and discussed policy-making processes with Ted Deutch as part of the Congressional Youth Cabinet.
As far as advice for underclassmen:
“Do what you are passionate about,” Khambati said. “Don’t get carried away in taking part in things that may ‘look good’ on your résumé, but don’t interest you at all. Take parts in things that you excel at and excite you and let your achievements in those fields speak for themselves.”
Looking back at his high school years, there’s not much Khambati would do differently.
“I had a lot of good times and have shared many memorable experiences with the people around me,” he said. “I also look back and I remember all those late nights I was up grinding and studying. It was that work ethic and hard work that got me to where I am, and there’s nothing that I would replace that with.”
Who is your hero?
My dad, Juzer Khambati.
What is your favorite movie?
“Idiots” (Bollywood movie).
What are your hobbies?
Playing volleyball, reading.
What do you do to get away or take a break?
I go to the beach a lot with my dad late at night. I try to go about two times a week and just really relax and take a step back from everything else happening in my life.
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?
If I could meet any person, I would meet Dr. Seuss. He had this way of swaying his readers to make them enter a world of their own when reading his books. He also always managed to talk about real-world problems in the simplest and silliest ways ever, and I think that’s a skill that truly made him unique.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Ever since I was a little kid, my parents (Juzer and Rashida) have been telling me “Whatever you do, do it with your heart.” This small piece of advice has basically influenced everything that I do today.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite books have always and will always be the “Harry Potter” series. I try to reread them at least once every two years.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Every Sunday, we used to meet up with a group of family friends and either go to the beach or a park and just kind of unwind and relax. We would have barbecues, play cricket, play soccer, etc.