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Alumni Profiles

Watch Us Soar

No matter where our graduates go on to high school, they make tremendous contributions to those schools in academics, the arts, and athletics. They carry forward their abilities to inspire others, chase their dreams, and achieve what they set out do.
jay lazar
middle school teacher

Arjan Singh Kahlon '18

PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR

Congratulations to Charter School of Wilmington Senior, Arjan Singh Kahlon '18, who was honored as a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Arjan is one of only 161 high school seniors nationally selected for this prestigious award from a field of more than 5000 initial Presidential Scholar candidates. Students are selected based on their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields. According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was created in 1964 and has honored over 7,900 of the nation's top-performing students. Arjan is the sixth Independence alumnus to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar since 2016. Previous recipients of the award are Umar Aulia '16, Grace Gong '14, Olivia O'Dwyer '13, Rahul Subbaraya '12, and Christina Stiebris '11.

Ben Johnson ’11

A PASSION FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Having graduated from Salesianum and Penn State and stints working at Oracle and Allbirds, Ben is now making his mark as an entrepreneur. He and a partner have launched SLCKR, a business that makes and sells a specially designed, productivity-boosting tool belt (actually “chest harness”) for barbers. Business is brisk, and Ben is thrilled. “I’m loving every second of it,” he says. “There’s a new problem to solve every day, and that variety is perfect for me.” The entrepreneurial bug may have first bitten Ben during Economics & Entrepreneurial Education (E3) in fourth grade, fondly referred to as Mini Society by former students. “I really enjoyed that,” he remembers, “and I was definitely intrigued.”

Jess Principe ’14

LEARNING AND LEADING

“It all started at Independence,” says Jess, explaining her love of the sciences—a love that started her on a path to a future career in occupational therapy. After Independence, Jess attended Tatnall, where she excelled in field hockey, lacrosse, and leadership as a Delaware Youth Leader Network member. Next came Elizabethtown College. She is now a senior there, preparing to continue as a graduate student next year. Meanwhile, she’s been spending summers back at Independence as a counselor in the school’s camps, loving the chance to connect with the kids. It’s good experience as she prepares for a career she hopes will focus on pediatric occupational therapy in a hospital setting.

Kerith Wang ’08

MUSICAL AND MEDICAL

A graduate of Princeton University, Kerith is now a third-year medical student at Thomas Jefferson University. She is also a violinist in the Penn Med Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble of doctors, students, and staff from area hospitals. “I had an itch to play, and it’s really nice to be part of that big symphony sound,” says Kerith, who started violin at three and continued through her years at Independence and after. “Looking back, the highlight of those years would have to be the teachers,” she says, “how dedicated they were and how much they cared for us.” Kerith is not sure where her career will lead but is enjoying the journey. “Anytime I’m learning something new, I’m happy, and these days, I’m learning constantly.”

Michaella Moore '12

MARSHALL SCHOLAR

An honors graduate of Howard University, Michaella has received a prestigious Marshall Scholarship, which will allow her to pursue her master’s degree in the field of medical anthropology at the University of London starting this fall. She will then return to the United States to enter medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. Michaella’s ultimate goal is to practice medicine while also working in the areas of health policy and advocacy to reduce global disparities in health and healthcare. She notes that Independence helped her become “a versatile and creative learner,” and she still fondly remembers experiences including Science Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind, and Mini-Society

Rohit Mathur ’17

FITTING IT ALL IN

For Rohit, a first-year student at Yale, the biggest challenge is balancing all his interests—from the Yale Alternative Investments Club to taking a swing at squash. But multitasking is nothing new. At Independence and then at Archmere, Rohit was highly active in student government, serving as president for five consecutive years. He also ran his own necktie company, NovelTie, through which he created the Independence ties for sale in the Indy Spirit Store. He found his way onto the board of an impactful nonprofit, the Friends of Hockessin Colored School #107—an organization dedicated to preserving the history of Delaware’s role in ending school segregation with the goal of creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive tomorrow. In between, he has excelled academically, as he did at Independence, and he says, “I gained the foundation in reading, writing, and analysis still with me now.”