Meet Woodgrove’s Puneet Kaur

The term “renaissance woman” can easily apply to Woodgrove senior and future George Mason University student Puneet Kaur.

“She’s amazing,” Woodgrove counselor Geri Fiore put simply. “Great person, athlete and student.”

A four-year varsity standout for both track and basketball, Puneet was one of 20 winners from a pool of 36,000 applicants for the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes scholarship program. The $20,000 she receives will go toward her education at George Mason, where she hopes to study information systems and possibly cybersecurity.

During her high school career, Puneet was also a member of Athlete to Athlete, a group started several years ago that pairs student athletes with special-needs students. The setting gives the two groups opportunities to share the common thread of playing sports together.

“It’s a group that’s near and dear to my heart,” she said. “I love helping people out.”

That love of helping others, and a desire to address the scourge of teen suicide, is what propelled Puneet and a group of friends to begin the We’re All Human club. They’ve partnered with Suzie Bartel, the mother of a Woodgrove senior who took his own life in October 2014.

“I wanted to address the problem head on,” Puneet said of her jump to start We’re All Human.

The program offers students the opportunity to create awareness about depression and other causes of suicide. Puneet and her friends organized an initial school-wide walk that attracted more than 2,000 people. The imitative has spread to other schools and created a ripple effect that will last beyond Puneet’s high school career. And while depression and suicide continue to be major issues for today’s high schoolers, Puneet hopes that We’re All Human and its efforts will have a lasting impact.

“It’s been nice….telling the kids there is somebody there at school to help you out,” she said. “Sometimes you walk by kids in the hallway and a smile can make a difference.”

—Kara C. Rodriguez

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