If you have been walking through the halls of The Wheatley School anytime lately, amongst all the familiar and new faces, you might have spotted a particular one. It belongs to a freshman named Viraj Jayam, familiar to some but new to others. The reason why I’m saying this is because some students of the freshman class already know this new, or not so new, student in the East Williston School District. The phenomenon that entails the recognition of Viraj by so many freshmen is a tricky one. Hold on, you might not get it the first time, so pay attention.
The story goes that when Viraj was a young child, he used to go to school up the hill from our local residence on Bacon Road, in an elementary school on East Williston Avenue called North Side. Viraj started his learning career as little kindergartener like the rest of the children in his grade. He attended kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and all the way through third. But by the time fourth grade came around, he mysteriously disappeared. Some of his peers knew where he went, but the majority of them had no idea. Many thought they would never see him again.
Then one day on the fifth of September, 2017, he mysteriously showed up again. There was a great deal of rumble among the freshman class as students went around proclaiming, “Did you see Viraj? He’s back!” When asked about where he went to school for the past five years, he simply replied, “Some random private school in Huntington.” But the truth is, some people know where he went, and plan on keeping it a secret.
Now the mystery of Viraj Jayam has been revealed to you. However, there is more to Viraj than his peculiar past. As a student in Mrs. Topping’s first period AP World History class, Viraj is always on his toes, ready to answer any question that comes his way. If there was an award for class participation in Mrs. Topping’s class, it would be his. Always alert and confident, I can not even fathom how many hours of sleep he must get to be so engaged every day.
That is not even the most impressive thing about Viraj. Besides the fact that he is handling classes filled with upperclassmen, Viraj is also an ardent member of Brainstormers, Mathletes, Chess Club, Science Olympiad, and Science Bowl. It is at club meetings where you will see the true energy and brilliance that is within this young individual. Often he jumps up, opens his MacBook to some mathematical problem from MACS0647-JD (the farthest galaxy from Earth), and runs back and forth between the desk where he placed his MacBook, and the whiteboard 15 feet away, with a red marker in his hand. After he has written out his mile-long equation filled with numbers, variables, and other symbols, he turns around and excitedly says, “How do you do this?” All he receives are blank stares. He tries again and shows how he figured out the first component of the problem but unfortunately, not the second. This time he gets a few nods, but you can see the passion in his face, that he just has to share this single problem, silently hoping someone else is as interested as he is. What he finds is that he is the most passionate one in the room. It does not deter him. “It’s just a lot of fun and I love it,” he says. He openly admits he is a geek, and quite frankly, he is proud of it.
Well, if you have not heard yet, all geeks have a frolic side of their own, and Viraj is no exception. His favorite TV channels are ESPN, NBA TV, ABC, and CBS. He is a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Giants and plays both fantasy basketball and fantasy football. However, Viraj does not merely watch, but physically plays basketball as well. He also plans on trying out for track later this year. Besides sports, Viraj has another interesting pastime. He watches a whole multitude of shows and sitcoms like MasterChef, How I Met Your Mother, and Seinfeld.
Viraj has grown quite accustomed to The Wheatley School over these past few weeks and has clearly found his place in our community. When asked about his experience thus far, he cheerily answered, “It’s been awesome and I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve met a bunch of people I knew back in the day.” Whether you know him or not from “back in the day,” go talk to him and welcome him back because he is sure to show you something cool and leave you laughing for the rest of the day.