May 25, 2018

Binuri H. 2018 vaaledictorian, Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

Binuri Lasanya Hapuarachchy, 2018 vaaledictorian, Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School.

Binuri Lasanya Hapuarachchy was not quite 14 years old when her family emigrated from Sri Lanka to the United States. Within a week, she was forced to adjust to a new country, a new culture, new customs and a new school.

Leaving their homeland in search of a better education, they found it at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School.

It’s also where she found her life’s vocation – neurosurgery. During her junior year, Binuri had the opportunity to shadow a neurosurgeon at Eskenazi Hospital. “I took part in a lab and was able to participate in scientific discovery that helped me realize what I was passionate about,” she said. “Unlike most areas in medicine, neuroscience is a relatively new field. There are still a lot of undiscovered research areas that I would like to have a part in discovering.”

On June 7, Binuri will graduate as valedictorian of her high school class. “I strove to become valedictorian because I try to always aim for the best possible outcome and work hard to achieve it,” she said.

With a 4.3 GPA and a 1570 SAT score, Binuri was awarded a Lilly Endowment Scholarship and admitted to the University of Notre Dame, where she will double major in biology and neuroscience and behavior.

“During a college visit, it felt like a great fit for me,” she said. “They have one of the best neurosurgery programs in the country.”

Binuri will enter Notre Dame with more than 16 college credits, thanks to IPS’ dual-credit and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. In her four years at Crispus Attucks, she completed two research internships at Indiana University School of Medicine and performed community service as a part of her acceptance into the National Honor Society. She has volunteered at Eskenazi Hospital, the Domestic Violence Network, and the No More Club.

Binuri is also a paid tutor at the new Attucks Math Assistance Center, where she helps teach students everything from algebra to AP calculus and AP statistics. “Cultivating a collaborative learning environment among peers is an attractive quality about Attucks,” Binuri said.

Binuri found her own teachers extremely kind and helpful upon her move to Indianapolis in her freshman year. “I found myself having to adapt quickly to life here, and it was overwhelming,” she said. “Though I spoke English fluently, a communication barrier existed. I had a very difficult time understanding people because of the difference in our accents.”

She also often found herself having to speak on behalf of her parents, because they found it much harder than she did to communicate. “Overcoming this challenge has cultivated in me the personal resistance to withstand or quickly adapt to changing circumstances,” she added.

Binuri said she owes much of her academic success to teachers Heath Dearing and Paul Weedling. “They truly inspired my interest in their subjects, which helped me advance to college-level courses in calculus and English and achieve an SAT score that I am proud of.”