Updated: 3 days ago
If you told Sukrut Oak four years ago that he’d graduate high school during a worldwide crisis, much less as his class’ salutatorian and with an admission in hand to Stanford University, he likely wouldn’t believe you. In between watching reruns of his so-called comfort show The Office and snacking on Taco Bell, Oak is particularly interested in science fiction movies, Interstellar and the Star Wars saga being his favorites. He is also fond of pop and hip hop music, mostly listening to The Weeknd, NAV, and Juice WRLD whenever possible.
As part of building his high school résumé, Oak has taken honors and Advanced Placement courses in addition to standard classes. Being an AP student, he’s also taken the tests for these coinciding courses-15 to be exact. This year he was an AP Physics C student and with only a couple of other peers in his class, it was no doubt a difficult course to take. With this newly gained experience, he has learned a valuable lesson and wishes to advise others to do the same.
“...Challenge yourself in all that you do...I tried to...take on all the responsibilities that I could, but I have also realized that it is especially important to find a community to work together and collaborate with to achieve your goals...Working together through our struggles, we helped each other succeed and turned into a tight-knit group that would support one another. On stressful nights, we would joke around and send memes, and I loved every moment that our class shared.”
Besides serving an officer position in Science Honor Society and being a member in the National Honor Society, he is also involved in the respective Math and Rho Kappa Honor Societies, too. Other leadership positions he holds include President of Mathletes and Committee Member of the Principal’s Student Action Committee. Oak is also part of Monroe’s chapter of FBLA and was awarded as being a Top 10 Team at the National Conference for Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making.
However, he is most involved in the school’s chapter of DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America). Here, Oak serves as the club’s President and CEO, something, he says, is one of his greatest accomplishments of his high school career. He’s helped organize it's Car Show and tables at Haunted High School and Octoberfest as well. Beyond qualifying twice for the DECA international conference, Oak was also a finalist for Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making, placed first and second in the Central Jersey Regional and District levels, and won a certificate of excellence for his attendance at the Career Development Conference.
Oak has also been the recipient of the AP Scholar with Distinction Award as well as the National AP Scholar Award.
While he’s done work at the state level for DECA and other organizations, Oak has also made an impact in his very own community. He’s led Boy Scout community service projects like road cleanups and fire hydrant painting in addition to being a youth volunteer for Deacon’s Food Pantry and the Monroe Township Public Library (as part of their Buddy tutor Program). He’s an Eagle Scout and Senior Patrol Leader for the Boy Scout’s Troop 60 of Monroe, too.
On top of various service projects, Oak is very passionate about gaining internship experience. He worked at a lab for a Princeton University Data Lab internship over the summers, using data mapping software to create different types of models and charts. Another internship he had was at Villanova University for robotics. Throughout this, he worked alongside college students to design and assemble an autonomous boat, again using software to do so.
Oak is also the founder of iPurpose, an Eagle Scout Project where he hopes to collect old technologies and give them to families who continue to be affected by the Juvenile Justice System.
With such leadership skills and passion, the sky’s the limit for Oak. Special congratulations to him for being this year’s salutatorian and best of luck at Stanford University where he will be attending for a major in mathematics and social sciences.