DENVILLE, NJ-- This weeks student spotlight goes to Shayda Daneshvari, Morris Knolls Class of 2018.

Shayda Daneshvari is a typical high school student, spending her time trying to balance homework, athletics, and trying to have a social life. Daneshvari is currently a sophomore at Morris Knolls High School, but she had a huge choice to make at the end of her eighth grade year.

Daneshvari, a graduate of Copeland Middle School in neighboring Rockaway Township, tested well and was offered a spot in the Morris Knolls IB Program. She was also offered a spot in Morris Hills Science and Math Magnet Program. After graduating valedictorian of her middle school class, Daneshvari made the choice to attend Morris Knolls.

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At Morris Knolls, Daneshvari plays on the Golden Eagles junior varsity soccer team. She also can be found running track for the Golden Eagles in the spring, competing in the 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, and the long jump.

When Daneshvari is not competing, she has her head in the books. As a sophomore, college seems to be a long ways away, but not for Daneshvari. At the age of 15, Shayda already has an action plan. Being the class valedictorian in middle school, Shayda is currently taking 2 honors classes and 2 AP classes, honors Spanish 3, AP Biology, AP Economics, and honors Pre Calculus. 

"I would really like to become a biology teacher or a neurologist. I've always liked to think that I could share my knowledge with someone else," Daneshvari said about her college goals.

As far as what college, Daneshvari has her eyes set upon Columbia University. She discussed her love for the city life, but she is fully aware that getting into Columbia is the hard part. With a 6% acceptance rate, Daneshvari will be pushing herself through the rest of her time at Morris Knolls. By the time she walks across the stage to recieve her diploma, Daneshvari will have completed 13 AP classes.

Donating her time to local charities is important for Shayda. She currently finds time to volunteer at Morris Knolls in the Key Club, Math Club, and Ski Club. During previous school years, Shayda was a member of the National Junior Honor Society, Leadership Club, and was given an award at her middle school graduation for her efforts. She spends some Saturday's also volunteering with the Denville Challenger Soccer efforts.

"I really love to see the smiles the kids get on their faces when they kick the ball really far or they learn something new. It's the little things,"

In the little free time that she does get, Daneshvari enjoys traveling with her family. She has been to numerous countries including Singapore, Netherlands, France, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Bermuda. She also speaks Farsi at home. 

Shayda has set her goals for high school, and they are pretty admireable. Daneshvari is hoping to accomplish being in an academic decathlon. She also hopes within the next two years to lock up a spot in the top 5 of her class. With goals like that, Daneshvari just reminds herself to take it slow and find a way to get through it.

"Just keep swimming is my motto. When you have pain from a sports injury or if you have a ton of homework, just keep going,"