Meet the new leaders of Swimming Downstream-Prisha Gandhi and Monica Balakrishnan



Order from left to right: Prisha Gandhi, Monica Balakrishnan

Swimming Downstream now has a new president and vice president. In this year of 2019-2020, Prisha Gandhi and Monica Balakrishnan have stepped up to the plate to lead the club and to continue the legacy of Mackenzie Warren, the founder of the program, who left CVHS last year for college. Now, they lead the program with old and new techniques to make sure it is the best it can be for freshmen to become successful at Carnegie. 

Swimming Downstream is a program to help the new freshman ace their first year of Carnegie. It has been for years and will continue to teach freshman on how to work, study, and balance life at Carnegie. And, it’s new leaders are only making it better, because they have the experience and knowledge on how freshman year goes.

Both Gandhi and Balakrishnan have experienced the hardships that freshmen have to go through, whether it’s time management or courses like AP Human Geography. They understand how hard it is to transition to the workload of Carnegie and know the steps necessary to overcome these challenges of procrastination and work ethic. 

“One of the problems was time management. And, because I did an extracurricular, it was very important to watch my time when doing homework. Basically, maintaining that good balance of school and extracurricular was a big challenge last year for me. Alot of it comes to time management and time traps. You could say, binge-watching Youtube or Netflix, or just distractions that will keep them from doing what they want to do. Because most of them [freshmen]  have the right attitude, but not the right mindset” Balakrishnan said.

For their freshman year, Swimming Downstream was able to guide them through their experience. It taught them to work the best they could on their assignments and time management using the tips and tricks given to them by Mackenzie. These tips and tricks that were given to them helped them all throughout freshman year and even now, where they learned from back then and utilize it in their current schedule. 

“When I was a 9th grader, Mackenzie was super helpful to me. Whenever I had questions, I could text her or email her. She was always out to help people. said Gandhi.

And, for AP Human Geography, Gandhi says that  Mackenzie helped her with tips for note-taking, which many students needed. 

“Swimming Downstream helped me by giving me resources like homework schedule ideas, which also helps me now in my sophomore year. I’m definitely more conscientious of how much time I’m using, as well as dividing up my homework into times that I know I can fit into my schedule and doing homework in odder times, like commute times, from school to home” Balakrishnan said.

This help that they received from Mackenzie is their inspiration in leading this program on their own. They were able to get motivation and now want to lead Swimming Downstream as proud presidents.

“She really did help me last year. So, I decided, why not continue her legacy” Balakrishnan said.

“She was always out to help people. So, how she helped me, I want to give back to Swimming Downstream and guide the kids in the right direction. I believe in giving back to the community or giving back to the cause that benefited me” Gandhi said. 

This year, Swimming Downstream is making some changes based on the experiences of freshmen from last year. The new presidents plan to include workshops on time management, homework scheduling, and tips for specific courses, such as AP Human Geography, and then workshops on SATs, PSATs, and 10th-grade course selections later in the year. 

“We took the feedback from them to design it so we get the content they need at the beginning of the school year, so that they can be successful just right when they’re getting into Carnegie, not only going into their second semester. It’s not like in the first semester where they’re not successful and in the second semester they are, because that’s how it’s been in the past years” Balakrishnan said.

So, if you are a freshman, consider joining Swimming Downstream, where Prisha and Monica will guide you to swim smoothly through your first year here at Carnegie.