Women’s Voices by Veena Manja: Road to ‘Jeopardy’ went through Williamsville - The Buffalo News

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Women’s Voices by Veena Manja: Road to ‘Jeopardy’ went through Williamsville

My daughter Ananya Nrusimha appeared on “Jeopardy” last month and we have been overwhelmed with compliments from our friends and well-wishers.

I am writing to personally thank each and every member of this wonderful community. Western New York and especially the Williamsville School District are responsible for Ananya’s success as much as her efforts and aptitude. Ananya and her brothers have had the opportunity to be taught by teachers who cared for them as if they were their own children. Due to space restrictions, I will not be able to name all the teachers that my children benefited from; needless to say their interests, passions and strengths were supported at every level.

Through her time at Heim Elementary School, Ananya was extremely fortunate to be taught by a cadre of excellent teachers. At Casey Middle School, we were continually impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the teachers. This trend continued in eighth grade when Ananya moved to Transit Middle School. And over the past two years as a high school student, Ananya has flourished in all aspects at Williamsville East High School. The principal and the teachers have created a friendly, supportive environment for the teenagers that attend this school. The school has marvelous academic, arts, music and sports curricula which give the students a rare opportunity to participate in and benefit from a wide array of programs.

During the various “Jeopardy” auditions that Ananya and her brother Aniruddha have gone to, I have had the opportunity to meet and exchange notes with parents from all over the country. It is apparent that due to fiscal constraints, schools that continue to offer a strong, well-rounded learning opportunity, such as ours, are in the minority. I have come to appreciate what we have in Western New York after my interactions with families from around the nation.

The schools not only cater to children with academic and extracurricular strengths; just as importantly, they strive to support kids with special needs. In addition to my two kids in high school, I have a 5-year-old son with autism who attends Dodge Elementary School. The principal, his class teacher, his speech therapist, his occupational therapist and the aides in his class have all been exceptional in their support of Arun. Under their tutelage, I am certain that Arun will achieve his full potential and be able to participate in society when he grows up.

Ananya and Aniruddha also have benefited from the volunteering opportunities available in the community. Through a volunteering program organized at Williamsville East, they have had the opportunity to spend time with veterans and hear the stories of their experiences firsthand. They also have volunteered at our wonderful local library which has fostered their intellectual growth.

More than 20 years ago, my husband and I moved from India in search of better opportunities in post graduate education. Our journey led us to Western New York and we are incredibly proud to call this community our home. Our colleagues and friends have become our extended family and have supported us through hard times and cheered us on during our moments of glory. Once again, I want to convey my sincere gratitude to all.

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