Few students have had a senior year as memorable as Wheeling Park High School’s Paushaly Sau.
On March 17, she helped her teammates raise the Patriots’ 39th consecutive West Virginia Speech and Debate Championship trophy. Speech is a passion for Sau, and she eagerly anticipated her senior speech and debate campaign since helping Wheeling Park capture state titles as a junior and as a sophomore.
Sau placed sixth in the nation for Oral Interpretation of Literatureat at the 2017 National Catholic Forensics League tournament. As a member of the Wheeling Park Speech and Debate Team, she is a part of four school records.
Sau said the Patriot speech team is a tight-knit unit. She truly appreciates the manner in which older members work with younger members to continue the team’s winning tradition. There is an exceptional level of pressure for members to continue the Wheeling Park High School Speech and Debate Team’s state championship streak, according to Sau.
“We love the pressure,” she said. “It helps us thrive. We work very hard, and we work very hard together. The team is my family. Every individual win is a team win. The seniors before me worked with younger students to make us better, and I had the opportunity coach the younger students this year. It was very rewarding.”
Sau gave another impassioned speech just two days prior to leaving for the state speech and debate competition. On March 14, she stood on a bench in front of Wheeling Park High School surrounded by more than 200 Patriot students.
As a member of the West Virginia Youth Action Movement, she took part in the nationwide school walkout to recognize the lives of those lost in the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Before her classmates, she called for sensible gun laws in the United States.
February was an exceptional month for Sau. First, she was named as a National Merit Scholarship finalist. The National Merit Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships in the county. Sau is now in the running to be named as one of only 7,000 National Merit Scholarship winners who will collectively receive an estimated $33 million in scholarships this spring.
Just days after being named as a National Merit Scholarship finalist, Sau was named as Wheeling Park High School’s Queen of Queens. Her dance talent was a highlight of the event, and she believes her diverse heritage and background helped her stand out as an individual during the contest. Sau is a member of the Nandanik Dance Academy out of Pittsburgh, and she said dance will always be an important part of her life.
One of Sau’s favorite teachers is Bill Cornforth. He is also the Wheeling Park speech and debate coach. Cornforth described Sau’s dance presentation as “mesmerizing.” Sau will next represent Wheeling Park High School in July during the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Queen of Queens competition.
Sau’s life has been much different than most Wheeling Park High School students. Sau was born in 2,000 in England, and she lived there until she was six years old.
Her father, Indranil, a pediatrician, and her mother, Bidisha, a classical music teacher, then moved the family to West Bengal, Kolkata, India.
The Saus lived in India for only a short time before the family relocated to Pittsburgh. After two years there, the family moved to Wheeling in 2011. Sau’s sister, Moujhuri, is a 2015 Wheeling Park High School graduate who is now an engineering student at Penn State University. Her brother, Urjit, is a third-grade student at Steenrod Elementary School.
Sau has a 4.8 overall grade-point average. After graduating from Wheeling Park High School, she plans to pursue a degree in medicine. She plans on attending the University of Pittsburgh. Although she will miss being a Wheeling Park Patriot, Sau said she is excited to begin the next chapter of her life.
“I’ve studied so much,” she said. “I feel prepared. I’m confident and excited for the next project.”
Sau is shown as a member of the Nandanik Dance Academy.