By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Nikhil Namburi, a junior at Blanchet, had a “pounding” headache the day he aced the PSAT.

“I did not think I did well at all in the PSAT,” Namburi said. “I just wanted to go home and take a nap.”

Overcoming headaches and fatigue has become a way of life for Namburi.

At age 4, he had emergency brain surgery to drain a cyst, which Namburi says was about the size of a baseball. Namburi’s doctors thought he might suffer from a learning disability.

“I think most people with the condition I have tend to have learning disabilities, especially the size of my cyst,” Namburi said. “I don’t think it hindered my learning abilities particularly but it definitely makes it harder to work hard. The symptoms compound the more and more I work. There’s a certain limit I have to set for myself and I can’t work beyond that or else it’s just going to end up hurting me more than it helps me.”

The symptoms also depend on Namburi’s sleep schedule and diet. He has to stay away from excess sugars and fast food.

“The way that I maintain my lifestyle makes a huge impact on the symptoms that I have,” Namburi said. “It’s more of just knowing my limits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for both short term and long term benefits.”

Namburi, who also scored perfectly on the ACT and earned 1570 of 1600 possible points on the SAT, said he doesn’t enjoy school more than any other student. He just thinks differently.

“I have more of an analytical mind so tests are definitely easier for me,” Namburi said. “I still work decently hard and it’s not just that certain things come easy to me and I don’t put in any effort. I’ve always been good at test taking in school.”

Namburi, who lives with his family in Keizer, went to elementary school at Sonshine before transferring to Blanchet in middle school.

“At Sonshine, they were very careful making sure I wasn’t pushing myself too hard,” Namburi said.

“They were willing to work with me. They were flexible, especially since it was very soon after my surgery. My entire time there they were really nice about taking care of me basically like I was their own son and when I made the transition to Blanchet from Sonshine, I think Blanchet just picked that up because it’s such a small school, it is like a family atmosphere, both of them, and they understand where I have my limitations and they’ve been willing to work with them.”

Namburi is inspired by his older brother Aneesh, a senior at Blachet.

Basketball, golf, DECA, Science Olympiad, whatever Aneesh does, Nikhil follows.

“Aneesh is my best friend in the entire world. Nikhil said. “He literally wakes me up every single morning. He makes me breakfast because I am not a morning person at all. He’s great about getting me on time to school and stuff like that. He’s been a role model for me. I think a lot of his success, he’s always been a very hard working individual and seeing that it became easier for me to understand what it take to be successful because he’s done a great job of it.”

Nikhil has qualified for the DECA International Career Development Conference each of the past three years.

He served as chapter vice president this year. Aneesh was president.

Running for state office, Nikhil was elected by his peers to be the 2018-19 Oregon DECA Student Marketing Association President.

“I think DECA has done a great job in preparing me for business environments and professional environments in general,” Nikhil said. “Even if you’re not planning to pursue business it’s a great place to hone those skills.”

Nikhil and Aneesh served as co-presidents of the Students for Change club, started in 2016.

“We started organizing events together and fundraising and it generated a lot of interest and a lot of  the credit just goes to the students for just picking it up and running with it,” Nikhil said.

“Our mission statement is to promote positive change in the community. We wanted to make it really broad so that it was something that didn’t have any limitations because the entire point was for students to develop a passion for community service in their own little way.”

The club’s service projects have included donating sack lunches to the homeless, 1,000 Soles Shoe Battle and working at Marion-Polk Food Share.

With his senior year and then college decision approaching, Nikhil is interested in computer science but isn’t positive what his next steps will be.

“I like to be open minded,” Nikhill said. “That’s the one thing that I’ve always prided myself on is I never close myself off to opportunities.

“I’d definitely be willing to move into different sorts of fields based on what interests me, especially in college because that’s a great place to learn what I really like.”