Senior Profile: Rohit Dhar, Wake STEM Early College High

  • Rohit Dhar

    May 26, 2022

    Senior: Rohit Dhar

    School: Wake STEM Early College High School

    College: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Major: Business or Economics

    It’s one thing to say you have a passion for something, but it’s quite another to truly live it. Rohit Dhar, who graduated Wake STEM Early College High School on May 24, is doing both. Several times over.

    Rohit has a passion for business. So he started one three years ago. He has a desire to share knowledge. So he founded a Business Club. He wants to serve others. So why not start a tutoring non-profit? And serve on the Principal’s Advisory Council? 

    That’s just for starters.

    Wake STEM ‘exceeded all expectations’

    Born in New Jersey, Rohit spent most of his formative years in Massachusetts and moved to Wake County in fifth grade. After a year at Green Hope Elementary, he attended Davis Drive Middle. When the time came to consider high school options, Rohit decided to “branch out” from the traditional high school experience and give Wake STEM a try.

    “I was really lucky to get in,” said Rohit. “I was really happy because at the time I was an N.C. State fan, and I thought it would really be cool to be there.” (Wake STEM was formerly located on State’s campus but moved to a new, larger location on Dillard Drive in Cary last year.)

    Worried that the curriculum might be too engineering focused, Rohit’s mind was soon put at ease when he found a plentiful offering of challenging courses led by inspiring and knowledgeable teachers.

    “The teachers are amazing. The programs are amazing,” said Rohit. “The school has truly exceeded all my expectations for it. For me, I think the teachers were all just very passionate about their work, and that’s what allowed me to learn more.”

    Rohit DharBusiness, service and leadership

    Rohit started an online “hype item” business his sophomore year during quarantine. Apex SNKRS started with high-demand, limited specialty shoes, such as UNC Dunk Low or Jordan models. The business has grossed more than a half-million dollars in sales in three years and is expanding to include additional luxury items such as handbags. Rohit sources items from all over the world. And now in addition to online, he sells some of his products in a storefront at Crabtree Valley Mall.

    “Personally, I loved online learning. I had more time on my hands and that allowed me to start my business,” he said. “I really had the opportunity to fulfill my passion.”

    Passion fueled by Wake STEM courses, activities

    “I love taking personal finance and economics,” said Rohit. “It helped me focus on my business and realize how much I really love doing it.”

    So much so that he founded the school’s Business Club where students exchange tips and ideas, such as how to start and manage a business. This includes an annual contest that awards a prize to the student with the best entrepreneurial idea.

    Rohit serves on the Principal Advisory Council, founded by Wake STEM Principal Drew Ware. 

    “There were a lot of concerns during the COVID-19 period,” said Rohit. “We were able to fix a lot of them.”

    “Rohit is a leader of leaders at Wake STEM as he advocates, enterprises, and excels,” said Principal Ware. “He is a shining example of what a student at STEM can accomplish.” 

    Rohit is also Vice President of the Random Acts of Kindness Club. Members brighten fellow students’ spirits with such gestures as handing out “kindness cards” with encouraging words at lunchtime. With no organized sports teams at the small school (though students can participate at Athens Drive Magnet High), he organized Junior Athletes, which gives students space and time to organize small sports competitions.

    His tutor inspired him to begin tutoring himself, and ultimately to start his own non-profit organization that provides tutoring services for free. Apex Tutoring serves local students but he also has seven students from Hong Kong, friends referred to him by a student he was tutoring here in Raleigh. 

    Lessons learned from the pandemic

    Rohit is a member of the first graduating class to spend its entire senior year learning in person since 2019. While many students suffered from the inability to be with their peers, Rohit falls into the category of those who actually thrived.

    In addition to having more flexibility in running his business and being involved in other activities, Rohit said his teachers handled online learning expertly.

    “My teachers did an amazing job at keeping classes engaged. Rather than just staring at the teacher on a Zoom call, I felt like I was in the classroom,” he said.

    Rohit DharWhat the future holds

    Rohit will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall, where he plans to major in - what else? - business - or something business related.

    “I love learning and I love sharing knowledge,” said Rohit. “Every single day I have felt like being smarter helped my business run better.”

    Supportive parents. Inspirational teachers. Great friends. Those influences helped get him this far, and he feels certain that his experience at Wake STEM will take him even farther. 

    I would say that there are a bunch of amazing people in my life,” he said.