Divya Sood: An instant and forever lasting impact on North Penn

Divya addresses the attendees of the inaugural High School Democrats of Pennsylvania State Summit.

TOWAMENCIN — Legacy. That’s a word that’s always in someone’s head who has the fear of being forgotten. It fuels their work ethic, ignites their eagerness, and mirrors the fire to make a change and have an impact wherever they are. Coming into North Penn High School as a sophomore, Divya Sood, currently a senior, wasted no time in setting up her legacy at this high school, and she even got it done before her Thanksgiving break of that same school year.

Getting involved was a priority for Divya, and when she saw that one of her key interests didn’t even have a club at the school, she decided to do something about it. 

“I started the Democrats Club with one of my good friends Rachel Rubins in the fall of sophomore year. We started the club to engage more students politically and advocate for progressive causes locally. It started off with three of us, two being me and Rachel, with enough meeting snacks to feed 20. We now have over 60 members,” said Sood.

The Democrats Club’s main accomplishments include: hosting 12 speakers (including Congresswoman Madeleine Dean) and collaborating with the Republicans Club to register 110 student voters for the midterm elections. They have also worked closely with local branches of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to host campaign door-knocking and phone-banking events.

“It’s definitely a challenge starting a partisan organization in the second week of your sophomore year. Rachel and I have complementary leadership styles and interests, and we’re both very ‘extra,’ so everything’s worked out,” followed Sood.

Serving as Co-President of the Democrats Club for the past two years strengthened Divya’s confidence as a leader. She also learned how to communicate effectively with different types of people through all kinds of mediums. This skill allowed Divya to arrange summer internships beyond the norm of a high school student.

“I arranged my own summer internships. I’ve interned at the Rendell Center for Civic Engagement, where I helped develop civic education lesson plans for elementary and middle school students. I’ve interned for Mayor Garry Herbert at the Lansdale Borough Office, where I attended council sessions and researched local policy initiatives,” stated Sood.

Divya’s experiences serving for the Democrats Club at such an early stage at North Penn paved the way for more leadership positions here. Currently, Divya serves as the Model United Nations Vice-President, National Honors Society Vice-President, and FBLA, where has she received a few regional and state-level recognition. On top of all of that, Divya has just been awarded the National Merit semifinalist for the top 1% PSAT score.

Outside of school, Divya’s leaderships are Development Director and President of High School Democrats of Pennsylvania, Op-Ed Editor for High School Democrats of America’s The Progressive Teen, founder and Director of Magical Writing Workshops, President of North Wales Area Library Teen Advisory Board, and Co-Coach for Girls on the Run @ Gwynedd Square.

“I found out about so many cool programs, such as High School Democrats, by talking to the people [at the Georgetown Summer Program]. Attending local party committee meetings and council sessions paved the way for my internship with Lansdale Mayor Garry Herbert. It all comes down to going out of your way to learning about different opportunities and then following upon them. Don’t ever think that an opportunity is beyond your capability,” said Sood. 

“Don’t ever think that an opportunity is beyond your capability.”

— Divya Sood

But wait, I failed to mention the holy grail of leadership positions for high schools or any high school for that matter: Student Council.

“So, I unsuccessfully ran for student council/class cabinet SIX times—4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 11th grade; I was absent during 7th grade election week. I joke about it now, but it definitely resulted in a ton of self-doubt and tears at the time. I actually keep a resume of personal failures, opportunities, leadership positions, programs I sought after but didn’t get–to constantly put things into perspective” remarked Sood.

Climbing the ranks for Divya is an instinct that many are not born with. Divya and a couple of her friends started the Democrats Club at our high school in their sophomore year. Her junior year Divya was appointed Development Director for the High School Democrats of Pennsylvania. And currently, in her senior year, Divya is serving as the President of the state for Highschool Democrats.

“I’m responsible for leading our board in areas of organizational development, expansion, communication, finance, and programming. I’ve made it a focus to collaborate with groups, such as Period, March for Our Lives, and New Voters. I also aim to broaden our organization’s geographical diversity and inter-chapter collaboration. We are also working on gaining official recognition from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party,” said Sood.

For her outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and community service, Divya was recently named Coca Cola Scholarship Semifinalist; she was one of 1,928 high school seniors out of over 93,000 applicants.

Divya’s leadership involvement extends outside of the realm of writing,

“When it’s all set and done, career-wise, I might be a politician, lawyer, and/or businesswoman—who knows! I’m keeping my options open, but I definitely want to maintain the right balance of autonomy and structure as well as the capacity to ignite positive change in society. On the side, I want to write—publish a book, write columns for mainstream media, run my own blog,” concluded Sood.