SOUTH FORSYTH -- Though Anish Bikmal isn’t ready for college quite yet, he and his older brother are guiding students through the search, application and admittance processes.
On Monday, the South Forsyth High School sophomore and co-founder of Motivate & Inspire Inc., or MIEdu Academy, held a college seminar at the school that brought in more than 350 attendees.
Bikmal’s brother, who is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, and his brother’s friends, who attend Harvard University, Princeton University, Duke University, MIT, Johns Hopkins University and other prestigious schools, spoke as panelists at the event.
“We held an event that teaches high schoolers and middle schoolers about the path to success to college,” Bikmal said. “[The panelists] shared their high school experiences and what they did to get into a good college, and they also talked about the college atmosphere and which college would be a good fit for the [attendees.]”
Bikmal said he opened the event by speaking about MIEdu Academy, which he and his brother established two and a half years ago as an academy “of students, by students and for students.”
MIEdu is also a nonprofit; all money raised by the academy goes to helping students and children around the world, particularly in India and Africa.
As of December 2016, they had raised $23,000, Bikmal said.
“Our mission statement is to motivate and inspire students by providing quality academic help while raising funds to serve those in need,” Bikmal said. “Basically, what we do is we tutor students – we teach all subjects in grades four through 11 – and all the money we raise we donate to three main charities.”
Those charities are Food for Life Vrindavan – a school that educates and feeds underprivileged kids from the poorest parts of India, Govardhan Eco Village – a nonprofit sustainable farming community and retreat center located north of Mumbai, and Bhaktivedanta Hospice – a hospice and palliative care hospital in Mumbai.
Bikmal said each meal provided by Food for Life costs about 20 rupees, and $1 equals about 60 rupees.
So, he said, if they donate $10,000 to the charity, they can serve 30,000 meals to underprivileged children.
“I think it’s so cool that what we’re doing here can make such a big impact around the world,” Bikmal said.
But the academy is helping students in the U.S., too.
“All our volunteers are high school students and we have weekly classes,” Bikmal said. “With all our classes and our summer camps, we’ve had over 100 students who have attended our academy and as far as tutors go, we’ve had over 20 tutors. Altogether, we’ve spent more than 600 community service hours.”
Bikmal said though he’s teaching students, he learns new things every day.
“When you teach, you learn a lot about the learning process itself,” he said. “Say I’m teaching a sixth grader. Obviously, I may not be learning new content, but when I teach them, I learn a lot about the learning process so I use whatever I learn from that in my own studies.
“I’m sure all teachers can attest to this, but just the satisfaction of when you teach someone and they finally understand a concept, it just feels good.”
Bikmal said MIEdu Academy plans to host the college seminar sessions annually, the next one this summer.
In March, they are also planning on providing a “Transition to High School” seminar, given many middle school students and parents have requested such an event. For more information about MIEdu Academy, visit mieduacademy.weebly.com/.