Watch CBS News

BZ's MVP: Marlboro's Risha Khanderia raises awareness for Special Olympics, inclusivity

Marlboro's Risha Khanderia is three-sport athlete who's passionate about helping others
Marlboro's Risha Khanderia is three-sport athlete who's passionate about helping others 02:53

MARLBORO - Marlboro senior Risha Khanderia's high school resume is impressive - that's why she's this week's BZ MVP.

"I'm class president. I sit on the school committee as a student representative. I'm also the student ambassador for Special Olympics," said Khanderia.

She's also a three-sport athlete and is graduating in the top 5% of her class. When she's not planning proms, homecomings or graduations, the two-term class president is often running on the track as captain of the outdoor track team.

Marlboro senior Risha Khanderia is class president, a three-sport athlete and an advocate for Special Olympics.  CBS Boston

"In middle school, I know part of it was wanting to make myself more seen.  I'm a pretty big minority in this school... me and my twin sister are the only Indian students in my grade," Khanderia said. "My parents didn't grow up here, they grew up in Africa. We spent our time over the summers visiting where they grew up, so I would see the life that I could have lived if they had stayed there, and I see the life I have here now and all the opportunities I have with my education and all of the opportunities with extracurriculars. I would see that as a mistake if I didn't take those opportunities."

But her favorite extra-curricular is Special Olympics, and Khanderia has even been to Capitol Hill to raise awareness and funds for the program.

"She's an advocate for our kids with disabilities," said Graham Asum, the unified track coach at Marlboro High School. "She does a phenomenal job with those guys."

"I have always been pushing for more inclusive practices. We have started to get unified classes at our school, which didn't exist when I was a freshman and sophomore," Khanderia said.

As a captain for unified track and basketball, Khanderia's led with kindness.

"Not everyone's capable of doing what she's able to do. Not everyone's able to connect with these kids at that caliber she's able to do," said Asum.

And Khanderia is not only making herself more seen but those around her.

"It's just so incredible to see an inclusive game where everyone can be competitive in a friendly manner. It's just so exciting to be there see the smiles on their faces,"Khanderia said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.