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East Windsor High School
Ayesha Ejaz isn't afraid of cavities, plaque or braces; she plans to spend the rest of her life maintaining people's teeth.
Ejaz got braces in middle school and liked them so much, she decided to pursue dentistry at the University of Connecticut next year.
"I did not hate having braces one bit," said Ejaz, 18. "Sometimes I kind of wish I still had braces. I think they're really cool."
Ejaz, who will major in biomedical sciences on a pre-dental track, has volunteered with both a dentist and orthodontist, and recently helped out at a free, weekend dental clinic for people who don't have health insurance.
But Ejaz has interests outside the dentist's office as well. She ran track for two years, was the president of student government at East Windsor High School, and played the clarinet in band. She won the Gettysburg College Book Award, received an outstanding academic achievement award from her school, participated in the National Honors Society and won the American Legion Auxiliary Award.
She said the most memorable parts of high school were when she was volunteering in the community, doing everything from hosting turkey dinners for the elderly to helping with a handicapped child's party.
Ejaz's good friend's 5-year-old sister was diagnosed with a potentially deadly mitochondrial disease, so every year she walks with other community members to raise awareness.
"She's in elementary school right now, so the money raised from that goes to research so one day they can hopefully find a cure," she said. Last year she said they raised about $50,000.
Ejaz said she has always done well both in and out of the classroom, but she didn't expect to be valedictorian.
"It was always in my mind, but it didn't really hit me that I would be valedictorian," Ejaz said. "I was really excited that it happened, all the hard work paid off."
July 2, 2013