By Lisa Lelas
Every autumn West Hartford Magazine takes great pride in introducing a few recent high school graduates as examples of excellence in our community, and who look to have bright futures. While we cannot possibly include all of the worthy students, we have selected eight students from the four West Hartford high schools as this year’s “Terrific Teens”!
Each of these students possesses an admirable work ethic with a drive to succeed and a desire to make a difference in the world. They exemplify what being a good role model is all about, and although they are not seeking fame, our community has noticed them as future “movers and shakers” of the world.
This year we sought out a natural setting for the Terrific Teen photo session, and were not disappointed with the beauty of West Hartford’s Westmoor Park.
Congratulations to Mamata Malla of Conard High School!
Future business leader
Born in Nepal and moving to America in middle school, Mamata has learned you can move mountains with hard work and determination.
This Conard graduate now attends UConn for business and political science. “I definitely see myself in some type of leadership role,” she surmises. Moving to West Hartford in the fifth grade from a foreign country had its challenges but mostly gave her new opportunities.
By the time she was in high school, Mamata was already actively involved. She was the co-president of the Conard Student Council, editor in chief of the yearbook, on the Senior Class Board, and was awarded the Lowenberg Lions Club Scholarship.
“From coming from another country with broken English to running for class president is surreal. I learned early on that anything is achievable with a ‘can do’ attitude!”
This certainly paid off for her and her classmates when she helped spearhead the fight with Town Hall to bring the school’s homecoming celebration back to Town Hall. She was also instrumental in discussions with the Board of Education regarding Conard’s Chieftain mascot and logo, and was on the committee to ultimately redesign the logo.
Mamata remains deeply rooted in her homeland culture. Her father, Tejesh B. Malla, is one of the founding members of the Nepalese Association of Connecticut in West Hartford. “People may not be aware that there is a great Nepali community here in town with over 500 members. I participate in the cultural dances as part of our annual fundraiser events.”
“One of my biggest mentors is Dr. Tracy Wilson, a student counselor and advisor at Conard. She was also my human rights teacher and she supported me. She made me realize that I was trong and that anything was possible.”
Mamata’s favorite food is American pizza and her local hang-out with friends is Blue Back Square. But perhaps nothing will compare to her favorite high school memory: the day of the Homecoming Dance at Town Hall. “I worked so hard for it. I got very emotional the night of the dance. It meant so much to me.”
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