SHS senior committed to encouraging others to accept and respect each other

Taha Vahanvaty has made his mark at SHS and in the larger Stroudsburg community


Taha Vahanvaty

Taha Vahanvaty’s mug shot from earlier this year.

Ronald Wang, Staff Writer

Taha Vahanvaty is a high school student who has practically done it all – or at least if feels that way. Starting from his junior high school years, through his high school years, this SHS student has accomplished many things from competing in varsity cross country to starting a new organization.

People who work with Vahavaty believe it is his concern for and commitment to others is what makes him so successful.

“Taha is someone who is always looking to improve himself and the world around him,” said FBLA adviser Ms. Kathy Sickler. 

This article will highlight some of the many accomplishments Vahanvaty has achieved. 

The Acceptance Project (TAP)

The Acceptance Project (TAP) is a club founded by Vahanvaty during his 8th-grade year.  This ongoing program is arguably one of his biggest accomplishments. In fact, TAP is an honoree of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations.

TAP aims to bring people together to hold meaningful discussions about current issues around the world. Students can connect with one another and share their opinions freely.

Over the years, this club has been a huge success due to Vahanvaty’s commitment and perseverance. In fact, he plans to take a gap year next year in order to develop and expand the program, along with the support of other key people who have helped him along the way.

Some of the main goals include the following: creating 15 high school chapters for TAP, exploring other TAP services such as offer services, and partnering with larger domestic peace-building organizations in order to develop some sort of civil discourse pipeline from high schools to colleges to careers. 

“Through TAP  I aim to create a country where all high school students, regardless of ideological or financial background, have the ability and resources to navigate their differences through civil dialogue,” said Vahanvaty. 

If students would like to learn more about TAP, they should contact Taha via email or check out TAP’s website. 

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

For the past four years, Vahanvaty has advanced to Nationals in the FBLA competitions. His accomplishments through FBLA are unprecedented.

“Since his freshman year, Taha has qualified for the National FBLA competition every year making him the first Stroudsburg student to do so,” said Sickler. “He earned 1st place in the nation last year for Public Speaking and will be looking to repeat this year in Job Interview.”

Poetry Out Loud

Furthermore, Vahanvaty placed first place in Pennsylvania’s Poetry Out Loud state competition this year. His expression and portrayal of the poem earned him the top award in the state. Vahanvaty surpassed students from 110 schools located within Pennsylvania and won a prize of $200. 

“Taha’s performance at the Regional competition was outstanding and led to his advancing to the State competition, where he won,” said english teacher Ms. Shari Griswold. 

Although this is Taha’s final year in high school, he has many more accomplishments yet to come. 

“When we hear his name announced at graduation, that will definitely NOT be the last time we hear from him,” said adviser Ms. Shari Griswold. “I have been honored to work with Taha. He truly is one of a kind and his contributions to our school community, our Stroudsburg community, and the world will continue to be amazing.

SHS News: Poetry Out Loud competition

The Princeton Prize in Race Relations

The Acceptance Project