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Q&A with The Independent School’s Mehala Muthukumar – Athlete Spotlight – Presented by WSU Tech

VYPE spoke with Mehala Muthukumar to discuss her time in band.

VYPE: What are your personal goals for the year?

I want to live the rest of my senior life to the fullest, wrapping up the first stage of my life, but look to the future and still work to fulfill my dream life. I think the most important goal for me is to maintain the perfect balance between the two. 

VYPE: What is the most fun you have had in the last year?

The first thing that comes to mind is going to State basketball as part of the pep band, just because of how fresh in my mind it is. It definitely was mentally taxing going on long bus rides for multiple continuous days, but I can honestly say that I made a lot of good memories with my friends.

VYPE: Who is your favorite teacher from any grade, and why?

I definitely have multiple favorites, but if I had to pick one, it would be my AP Calc BC teacher Mrs. Ali Kossen from my junior year. She was such a great teacher and kind and helpful, but what made her my favorite was probably because of how lighthearted the environment felt with how our class had inside jokes and just a good time overall. I also distinctly remember crying before the AP test, simply because, while I was of course personally nervous, I just didn’t want to let her down after all she did.

VYPE: What is your favorite athletic memory?

Hands down, my favorite memory was when I answered a scholars bowl question about a key in music. I said B minor, but I realized that the judge couldn’t really tell what I had said. I then clarified with “B as in bee,” without realizing that it was incredibly unhelpful because it sounds the exact same. It was just a funny moment. Of course, it was also nice that we were crushing that round and I knew my answer was right.

VYPE: What teammate has left the biggest impression on you and why?

I think I would have to say Lea Sackett, actually in both Scholar’s Bowl and Band. We mainly bonded during scholar’s bowl because we were both on Varsity while it was our first year there. Since we often traveled a while to tournaments, she and I would talk about our various music aspirations since we both do solos and honor bands.

VYPE: What is your favorite part of being on this team?

My favorite part of being in Band is playing new music. The feeling of figuring out the complicated rhythms and fingerings while hearing everyone else struggle as well, until those moments when we all line up and sound so cool. Either that or hanging out with my friends at events.

VYPE: You can pick any place for a summer vacation. Where do you go, and who do you take with you?

Universal Studios Orlando. I’m not entirely sure why I’m so attached to that place, but I do know that I just absolutely love the environment and the people there. And above all, the adrenaline rush I get from all the rides. I also just really enjoy themed places, so that combined with everything else makes it quite amazing. I love hanging out with my family there, but I’ve always wanted to go with my friends there on a little trip.

VYPE: If we gave you $500 and you had to spend it in the next 24 hours, what would you spend it on?

I’m going to be honest… I would go shopping. Of course, I would donate to some charities that I want to support. But also I’ve never had my own money to spend, and I’ve been waiting to not have to rely on anyone for that. I would also very much enjoy the freedom to buy whatever I wanted. I would definitely treat my mom and spoil her. I would also probably take my friends to dinner.

VYPE: Do you participate in any community service projects?

I participate in many various community service projects. The biggest one I’ve probably been involved with is last year when I was an ambassador for The Independent School at Riverfest as a Prairie Schooner Mate. We went around Wichita to visit various nonprofits and also helped with everything around the actual festival.

VYPE: What Clubs or Campus groups are you involved with and why?

This year, I have been or am currently in Band, Scholar’s Bowl, Bioclub and Environmental Action Club (BEAC), National Honor Society (NHS), Student Council, Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Spanish Honor Society, and Global Affairs Club (GAC).

The number of activities can occasionally get overwhelming especially when I just want to have lunch, but the reason I’m in all of them is that I deeply care about what we do. I’m actually currently in Seattle with some of my friends from BEAC presenting our research on using CRISPR to manipulate DNA at a microbiology conference. 

VYPE: Are you involved in academic excellence activities such as the National Honor Society, Student Council, or other academic clubs?

I think I kind of answered this question with the previous one, but I try and involve myself with as many academic excellence activities, not only because it pushes me to be the best student and person I can be, but it also places me in an environment where I can be surrounded by like-minded and inspiring individuals. 

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