Ankush Bajaj, freshman, takes advanced classes, participated in Skripps National Spelling Bee

When complimented on his intelligence, Ankush Bajaj usually responds with a bashful smile and a humble “thank you.” Fervently fascinated with knowledge, mathematics specifically, he has impressed many with his astounding academic achievements.

“I skipped kindergarten, and from there I just took an avid interest in math and spelling, so I participated in local spelling bees and school spelling bees from third through eighth grade. Then, in sixth grade, I won the Dupage County Spelling Bee, so I qualified for the National Spelling Bee. I went to Washington, DC to compete against 250 other kids who had qualified. As for my career in Butler [Junior High School], I expanded my career in math through multiple math contests,” Bajaj said.

Ankush placed out of the mathematics program in eighth grade, so he took Algebra 2 Trigonometry Honors at Hinsdale Central and Spanish 2 Honors because of a scheduling conflict. With such a challenging course load, Ankush, now a freshman, can affirm that motivation can be difficult to regain. He has support systems and a positive mindset that keeps him focused.

“For all the spelling contests and advancements in math that I’ve done, I’ve always been inspired by how hard work really pays off, primarily by one of my math coaches who helped me find math more interesting,” Bajaj said.

His mother especially inspires him. “She always urges me to take it to the next level and continue like whenever I’ve been stuck on a certain level of math,” Bajaj said.

Ankush’s career goals are geared towards science. “I am interested in keeping my skills in math honed. I want to continue to calculus and other advanced math topics. [However] I want to become a doctor of gastroenterology for my career, as I progress through high school and college,” Bajaj said.

He began preparing for his college entrance exams at an early age as well. “I got a 2130 [out of 2400] on the SAT I took in eighth grade, and I got a 33 [out of 36] on the ACT that I took in eighth grade,” Bajaj said.

Ankush is also committed to extracurricular activities. He has won individual awards on the math team and is a captain of the Junior Engineering Technical Society. He is also on the Scholastic Bowl and Science Olympiad teams.  With all of these commitments, Ankush says he only spends four hours after school on academic work.

“I spend like four hours after school, maybe one-and-a-half hours on homework, and sometimes one-and-a-half to two hour commitments to extracurricular activities,” Bajaj said.

In spite of his time management skills and advanced classes, Ankush still finds Hinsdale Central challenging.

“While I will say that there are some subjects in which I feel I could use more of a challenge, over all I will say that it is a challenging school, and that I am constantly engaged with the schoolwork I have in nearly all of the courses,” Bajaj said.