Student Body President Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta Does Much For Los Alamos

Los Alamos High School Student Body President Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta: ‘I also feel like I have a purpose when I do community service.’ Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Daily Post
Los Alamos High School senior Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta has immersed himself in local community events and projects since middle school.
Lahiri-Gupta, 17, is student body president this year and took time out of his busy schedule to explain why he feels so motivated toward community service.
“There’s just something appealing to me about helping people and trying to make them happy that makes me excited to do it,” he said. “I also feel like I have a purpose when I do community service. I am helping people or making them happy, and that’s all the purpose I need.” 

Lahiri-Gupta first got involved in community service when he joined the Los Alamos Middle School Student Council in 7th grade. During that year, the Council cleaned up trash around the school, visited the Betty Ehart Senior Center and performed other community service projects.

“That’s when I realized that I could have a positive impact in the community. I also volunteered for the 2008 Presidential Campaign for Barack Obama during the fall semester of my 7th grade year,” he said. “I continued participating in Student Council and when I got to be a freshman in high school, I was recruited to be part of the United Way Youth Team and that became another one of my gateways to do community service.”

Six years later, Lahiri-Gupta is still actively participating in the United Way Youth Team. He was front and center with his good friend and event chair Justin Dunn at this season’s first fundraiser, “Taste the Sky” Sept. 8 at the Los Alamos County Airport. The money raised from this project and all of the other projects the Youth Team works on go to help those in need in the community.

“We have four more events lined up for this year,” Lahiri-Gupta said, including ‘Dinner Over Diamond’ Sept. 29, ‘High Tea on the Hill’ Oct. 20, ‘Hamburger Night’ Oct. 28 and ‘Atomic City’s Got Talent’ Nov. 23.”

Lahiri-Gupta also is focused with his Council members on organizing this year’s Homecoming events for the week of Sept. 30 – Oct. 5, and instituting a special project at LAHS.

“My goal as Student Body President is to make a happier student populous. The project doesn’t have an actual name yet, but it has a rather important goal – to make LAHS a friendlier and more welcoming environment by helping the student populous to be happier and more spirited,” he said. “We want students to finally be excited to come to school in the morning! We are instituting this project by trying to have fun activities during lunch, playing music before the announcements every day, and just trying to do other things that make the students happy.”

Lahiri-Gupta explained that the Council has learned that students are happier when involved with their school experience. With that in mind, Student Council has started to obtain more student input, he said.

“Student Council is also planning on participating in a lot of community service in the county. We plan on volunteering with LA Cares, raising awareness for cancer and fundraising for research, and much, much more,” he said. “This summer I went to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India, and saw that whatever help people can give truly makes a difference.”

Lahiri-Gupta offered two pieces of advice for students: 

  • If you have an image in your head of how something should be, take the initiative yourself to make it that way; others will follow and help; and
  • There is always someone out there who you can help and make happy. Help them, it’s worth it.
Lahiri-Gupta was born in Richmond, Va. He is the son of Dr. Aparimita Lahiri, MD, and Dr. Goutam Gupta, PhD.

“My mother lives in Los Alamos and has her own medical practice. My father lives in Santa Fe and works with the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a scientist. I primarily live with my mother,” he said. “My ultimate goal after high school is to be a lawyer, so in order to do that I plan to get a sociology or political science degree and then go on to law school. I haven’t yet decided what field of law that I want to go in to, but I am leaning toward business law. I don’t really know where I want to go for undergraduate school yet because I am still looking at all of my options. But, I do plan to go to either Stanford or Berkeley for law school.”

Earlier this month, Student Body President Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta, center, and Student Body Vice-President Justin Dunn with New Mexico Secretary of Education-Designate Hanna Skandera during her visit to Los Alamos. Photo by Salvador Zapien/
In March, Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta, center, with fellow United Way Youth Team member Justin Dunn speak with UWNNM Executive Director Kristy Ortega and Los Alamos School Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt. Youth leader Morrie Pongratz is in the foreground. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
In December 2012, Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta, left, organized a community memorial event at Ashley Pond to remember the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Photo by Greg Kendall/
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