YLDP Students Show their Mettle at Graduation Ceremony


YLDP 2019 Graduates with Indian Consul General Anupam Ray

By Dr Sarita Mehta

HOUSTON:The Youth Leadership Development Program, celebrated the Graduation Ceremony of the Class of 2019, as well as its10th anniversary on Sunday, 20 April at India House. YLDP, a non- profit organization that helps high school juniors and seniors from the Greater Houston Area, of Indo- American origin, to develop leadership skills and attributes through interaction with established successful local organizations, accomplished leaders and community service projects.

A total of 57 students graduated from this class. The graduating students were divided in six teams, and Kalpana Suresh conducted these student-moderated sessions very efficiently. Students were given different topics on which they made presentations, and each team was lead by their student team leaders: Kishore Iyer, Aamani Pillutla, Aryan Parikh, Bhavya Rastogi, Sai Ponnapalli, and Shrishti Rohilla .

The three students who were awarded ‘ Best Service Projects’ are; Seema Kulkarni, Srivishnu Yarabarla and Rohan Scaria.

Nine who were awarded for Perfect Attendance are; Mihir Gundamaraju, Trisha Kulkarni, Ami Patel, Adarsha Pokkulandra, Rajit Ponakala, Sai Ponnapalli, Prudhvi Putam, Jaanavi Ramalingam, Radhika Sonde.

Active Participation awards were given to Mohith Boorgu, Harsha Devireddy, Yesh Dhruva, Soham Jadhav, Aayush Kathuria, Sherya Laxman, Aryan Parikh, Ami Patel, aamani Pillutla, Sai ponnapalli, Bhavya Rastogi, Yamini Roy, Rohan Skaria, Radhika Sonde, Sanjana Srinivas, Vinisha Vasan, Divya Yadavalli, Srivishnu Yarabarla.

The chief guest, Dr. Anupam Ray, the Consul General of India, in his motivational speech on leadership shared anecdotes from his own personal life and the lives of great world leaders including great characters from the Mahabharat – Yudhishtra, Arjun, Karan and Lord Krishna, Lord Ram, Indira Gandhi, Nelson Mendela, Abraham Lincoln and many more. Leadership, according to him, involved facing adversity with courage and sacrifices, and decisions coming from those conditions.

Dr. Ray’s speech was followed by an interactive question and answer session in which students came up with many intellectual questions, and he answered them elaborately and happily with his own personal examples.

YLDP President Minal Varadharajan, in his welcome speech, congratulated the students who graduated this year, and recognized their parents for their logistical and moral support to the students through the year. He expressed his pleasure by relating the milestones covered through the year and covered multiple themes in the fields of science and technology, business and entrepreneurship, government and politics, philanthropy and charity and art and culture. ”We believe you will take important pointers from these sessions,” he said, “and apply them to become future leaders of our community.”

Varadharajan thanked all the eight guest speakers who visited from time to time throughout the session 2018-19 and provided great insights in their area of their expertise; Chuck Hinkle, Biane Greene- president of Houston Food Bank, Dr. Ratna Kumar, founder-Director of the Anjali Center for Performing Art, Judge Ravi K. Sandill, Gibson Du Terroil, President of the Lighthouse of Houston, Dr. Arun Pasrija, President and CEO of CHR Solutions, Bert Natalicchio, ITM-Technology, Development and Wells, Shell Oil Company, and Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India.

He further mentioned the efforts of efficient Service rendered by late Director Kush Tandon, whom the institution unfortunately lost earlier this year, who was very popular amongst students too. He further extended a big thanks to the entire board members and volunteers as they have put in countless number of hours behind the scene in the planning and execution of the sessions and graduation ceremony.

YLDP is focused on the development of leadership skills and attributes in the upcoming generations of Indo-American youth, working with a great Vision,” Nurture emerging Indo-American leaders to succeed in business, philanthropy, science, culture and government since 2009.

Contact Sharda Prasad, Publication Director about enrollment for new upcoming session. For more information, visit: www.ylphouston.org