Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Alonso High valedictorian now thriving at Columbia University

WESTCHASE — A year ago, around this time, Ayushe Misra admitted getting a bit emotional. After all, Christmas was a time for family, and hers had tragically been taken from her.

Her mother, Anshul Misra, was killed during a family vacation in their native India just months earlier. And her father, Ganesh Dutt, was arrested there in connection with the crime.

Facing an uncertain future, Ayushe and her younger sister returned home to Tampa as wards of the state. But over the course of the past year, the two were helped by a small network of people, including a caseworker, legal advocate and some family friends.

Ayushe also kept her ordeal largely a secret at Alonso High School, where she was a senior and in line to be valedictorian. Only a few teachers, counselors, administrators and her closest friends knew.

In June, she graduated at the top of her class, with a handful of scholarships and college acceptances under her belt. She chose Columbia University in New York, where she recently completed her first semester.

"After the first month, I was a little unsure of my decision. I wasn't sure if being away from all the people who were my support system for the last year was for me," said Ayushe, 18. "But soon after, everything fell into place. I absolutely love Columbia."

She still draws on her Tampa support system, getting advice about classes from her Alonso High counselor, Brian Delacey. She also talks to her sister, now a sixth-grader at Benito Middle School in New Tampa, every day.

She has heard from her father a couple of times, through correspondence with the U.S. Embassy. But nothing much has changed with his case, she said.

Scholarships have allowed Ayushe to focus solely on her schoolwork, which is a far cry from her senior year of high school, where she worked several jobs to have money for things like clothes for her and her sister.

"I don't have to worry about a whole lot, which is such a relief," she said.

Ayushe returned home to Tampa a few days before Christmas and will return to school in a few weeks.

She has been hanging out with her sister, now 11, who is living with family friends in New Tampa. And she spent Christmas Day with Carey DiPompo, her senior class adviser at Alonso.

"We had a wonderful time, spending the day together, exchanging gifts," she said. "Christmas was fantastic."

Richard Martin can be reached at rmartin@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3322.

Alonso High valedictorian now thriving at Columbia University 12/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 29, 2012 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Worker fixing cable line in Feather Sound after Hurricane Irma dies after fall from ladder

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — A 53-year-old worker repairing a cable line in the Feather Sound area on Saturday fell from his ladder and died, the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office said.

  2. 5 things under $5 Sept. 21-27: Snooty memorial, free Glazer Museum, actor Jackie Cruz, Talk Like a Pirate Day

    Events

    1 Remembering Snooty: This public memorial was postponed by Hurricane Irma, but on Sunday the community gets a chance to honor Snooty, the beloved 69-year-old manatee at Bradenton's South Florida Museum. The museum will be open to the public for free for a day of remembrance from noon to 5 p.m. 201 10th St. W, …

    7/15/2011 - Bradenton, FL - Snooty, the worlds oldest manatee on record, will celebrate his 63rd birthday on Saturday, at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. Staff Photo by JIM HOCKETT
  3. 'Raging Bull' boxer Jake LaMotta dies at 95

    Obituaries

    Jake LaMotta, the former champion boxer whose life was immortalized by Robert DeNiro in the 1980 film Raging Bull, died Tuesday at age 95.

    Jake LaMotta and his fiance Denise arrive for the world premier of the critically acclaimed boxing drama "Ring Of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story" at the Beekman Theater in New York in 2005. LaMotta, whose life was depicted in the film "Raging Bull," died Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, at a Miami-area hospital from complications of pneumonia. He was 95. [Associated Press]
  4. Tampa Bay cools down to more moderate home price increases

    Real Estate

    The increase in home prices throughout much of the Tampa Bay area is definitely slowing from the torrid rate a year ago.

    This home close to Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa sold for $3.055 million in August, making it Hillsborough County's top sale of the month. [Courtesy of Bredt Cobitz]
  5. Neo-Nazi roommate of Tampa Palms murder suspect to plead guilty to federal explosives charges

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Brandon Russell, the neo-Nazi former roommate of double-murder suspect Devon Arthurs, will plead guilty next week to federal explosives charges.