Eletria Biswas, Statesboro High School’s valedictorian and STAR student, hopes her talents and knowledge will help her serve others. Accepted to Yale, Georgia Institute of Technology and other prestigious universities, she ultimately chose Harvard and will head to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the fall to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. She wants to pursue a career in the development of sustainable materials.
“Eletria has worked hard not just to better herself, but to put herself in a position where she can start helping immediately,” said Nick Thrower, her Advanced Placement Language and Composition teacher. “She is a kind soul who cares about others. I legitimately believe she wants to make the world a better place.”
That sentiment is echoed by her calculus teacher, Tiffany Ward. “Eletria is an eclectic young woman who has a passion for people. She truly desires to be someone who can give voice to those who are underrepresented. I have no doubts that she is destined for greatness.”
Biswas has cultivated interests in the arts and humanities in addition to science, mathematics and technology. Her passions include reading, painting and politics. You’ll find her reading books like, “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis or previously serving as a campus core leader for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. It’s no wonder she did not choose a strictly STEM-focused university.
“My Intro to Religious Studies class, taught by Dr. Finbarr Curtis, and Intro to Philosophy class, taught by Dr. Bill Eaton at Georgia Southern University really opened me up to the humanities, and they were incredibly influential in my decision to attend an institution like Harvard,” Biswas said.
Her experiences at Georgia Southern allowed her to present about the philosophical debate surrounding suicide and euthanasia. She was also part of the chemistry department’s Quirino Research Group for two years. Led by Dr. Rafael Lopes Quirino, it carries out student-driven, original research focused on the use of natural oils and other bio-renewable resources as starting materials to develop renewable products with environmental and economic significance.
“My scientific research class and my Advanced Placement Environmental Science class, both taught by Mr. Richard McCombs, my STAR teacher, have also been influential in my decision to pursue not only engineering, but specifically sustainable engineering,” Biswas said. “He has been one of the most important people in shaping my academic career. He cultivated both my love of scientific research and my interest in sustainability.”
“Eletria is one of the most special young ladies that I have ever had the privileged to teach,” McCombs said. “Her hard work and dedication to all that she does has paved the way for an awesome future.”
At Statesboro High School she was involved with the National Art Honor Society and Model United Nations. She won second place for her Georgia Science and Engineering Fair project, was a Governor’s Honors nominee in science, her artwork was selected for the All-State Art Symposium, and she and her peers won Outstanding Delegation for the African Union in Model UN two years in a row.
“Eletria has been a major part of the Statesboro High Art Club all four years, and has held the role of president for two years in a row,” said Hayley Ward, the school’s visual arts teacher. “Even when her college classes did not allow her to enroll in an art class, she still worked on her art and came to every single club meeting. She is obviously a brilliant student but does not have an arrogant bone in her body. She takes correction and feedback with grace and is always open to learn more and grow. “
Because Biswas and her mother, Juthika Golder, have relocated out of state, she was not able to attend Statesboro High’s socially-distanced, curbside commencement with her peers. She actually walked across the stage to receive her diploma a few hours prior to the beginning of the three-day event which featured assigned times for graduates and their families. She pre-taped her valedictory address, and it will become part of the final edited video of the graduation ceremony that will be released to graduates. Biswas’ journey from Langston Chapel Elementary to William James Middle School to Statesboro High is now complete.
“Within the past four years, we’ve all formed our distinct sense of identity, answering the developmental question, “who am I, and what can I be?” Biswas said. “While each of my peers came away with a unique answer, one piece of our identities is and will always be being a Blue Devil.”