Avani will attend University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Honors College this fall, a decade and a half after she attended Early Intervention and Preschool Programs at Clarke Florida where she learned to listen and talk. Avani has a bilateral hearing loss that was discovered when she was 10 months old, shortly after her family moved to Florida from India. She uses listening and spoken language to communicate and wears cochlear implants to help access sound.
“Having a good group of friends has really helped me — especially throughout the pandemic. We didn’t have an official prom that was sponsored by the school, so my friend and I had a pandemic-friendly one at home,” explains Avani. “This summer, before moving for college, I’m really looking forward to having the flexibility to go back to work at a tutoring center where I tutor younger students in math and I’m excited to hang out with friends.”
Avani is enrolled in her high school’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, a rigorous two-year program dedicated to curriculum and service. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, Hispanic Honor Society, Interact Club and participated in her high school’s orchestra. She plans to major in computer science at UCF and has been accepted into COMPASS — a program that helps undergraduate students explore career options in STEM-related fields.
“Avani continues to amaze us! She started exceeding our expectations as a toddler and continues to do so in high school. She makes us very proud,” notes Geeta Shandilya, Avani’s mom and a teacher of the deaf at Clarke. “As a parent and a professional, I see every day the limitless possibilities for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We will always be grateful to all the professionals who have supported Avani’s growth and who have helped her reach where she is today.”