Saicharan Elisetty has accomplished more than many at his young age, not only in sports, but in academics too, all while being wheelchair-bound.
The 13-year-old from Floral Park, who has congenital orthopedic impairment in his lower limbs, recently received a New York State award for scoring with distinction in math and verbal in a test given by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY). Elisetty scored above average on the test, which is based on the SAT exam many students take to get into college.
“Only about 30 percent of the over 24,600 7th and 8th graders who took the SAT or ACT through CTY’s talent search this year qualified for the award ceremony,” said Matt Bowden, Communications Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University-CTY. To qualify for the ceremony, Elisetty’s scores in math and reading had to be over 600.
His parents, Ashok and Padma, explained that Elisetty “never had formal schooling until he was seven-years-old,” when he came to the United States from India. Before that, “he had some home tutoring by his mother,” who was a schoolteacher in India.
“Since he was consistently achieving above grade level scores,” they said, the administration at his elementary school, Henry Viscardi School in Albertson, Long Island, recommended that he skip a grade, and Elisetty went from the fourth to the sixth grade, just three years after he moved to the U.S.
Elisetty is also an honors student at Nathaniel Hawthorne M.S. 74 Junior High School in Bayside and a member of the Hawthorne Chapter of the National Honor Society of Secondary Schools.
Along with his academic achievements, he has participated in and won many gold medals in the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, and has visited Ireland to compete in the Irish Games for the Physically Challenged.
He also led his wheelchair basketball team to many state championships while at the Henry Viscardi School. In addition, he is an accomplished pianist and is involved in many school drama productions.
Elisetty has also found time for philanthropy. In 2005, while president of his class at the Henry Viscardi School, he helped raise more than $1,000 for Southeast Asian tsunami victims.
“Saicharan’s greatest strength,” his parents commented, “lies in his positive attitude towards life, self-confidence and determination.”
“His physical disability never stopped him from being ambitious. He is a great source of inspiration to everyone,” his parents added.
Elisetty will be attending the Bronx High School of Science in September, and hopes to become a medical doctor and help the underprivileged.