Patch Whiz Kid of the Week—Vinay Senthil Kumar

Know an outstanding youth, sports team, school club or any accomplished young citizen who is deserving of this mini-profile honor? Send your nominations to sheila.sanchez@patch.com.

Joaquin Miller Middle School eighth-grader Vinay Senthil Kumar is Patch's Whiz Kid for the week of Dec. 9-13, 2013. Courtesy Helen Heinsohn
Joaquin Miller Middle School eighth-grader Vinay Senthil Kumar is Patch's Whiz Kid for the week of Dec. 9-13, 2013. Courtesy Helen Heinsohn
Vinay Senthil Kumar, Age 13

Schools: eight-grader at Joaquin Miller Middle School in Cupertino, Young Genius Bay Area Speech and Debate Academy in Fremont, Saratoga and Los Gatos.


  • Young Genius Speech and Debate Academy team at Miller Middle School, member
  • Won third place in public forum at Santa Clara University Invitational Debate Tournament, December 2013
  • Won third place in public forum at Presentation High School Debate Tournament, November 2013
  • Won second place at the Peter Burnett Tournament for Impromptu Speech in 2011
  • Won first place for the Novice Speaker at the South Bay Debate League Tournament in 2011
  • Straight A student and a part of the National Junior Honor Society
  • Participating in First Tech Challenge Robotic tournament in 2013
  • Participated in First Lego League Robotic competition in 2011 and 2012 and made it to Regional Level
  • Member of the John Hopkin's Center for Talented Youth and Stanford EPGY since 2009
  • Participated in Junior Solar Sprint (2011, 2012) and won design awards for Solar Car
Key to Awesomeness:

"Vinay is hardworking, organized and a perfectionist. He is very passionate and always strives to give his best in every activity that he participates. He has always been a team player and never hesitates to help others around him," said Young Genius Bay Area Speech and Debate Academy owner Helen Heinsohn.

Being a shy and soft-spoken boy, Vinay’s parents were surprised when he started showing interest in debate, Heinsohn said.

Vinay’s other passion is robotics. He started showing interest in Legos at the age of 6. He came up with his own designs and built solar cars for the Solar Sprint Competition, Heinsohn added.

Vinay has been designing and programming robots for FLL competitions for the past two years and is now participating in FTC competitions, according to Heinsohn.

Vinay also likes reading and playing football and tennis. He is working toward his taekwondo blue belt and is keen on receiving a black belt as well, she said.

This whiz kid has also been learning violin for the past four years.

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Jeremy Barousse December 10, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Congrats to the rising star Senthil! Well deserved!
Timothy Scott Gorsulowsky December 10, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Wow, that is a large group of accomplishments, great job!!!
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz December 10, 2013 at 10:12 PM
High Kudos 2 U Young Man! Keep up the Good Work!
Marilyn Leonard December 11, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Great kid! Keep up the good work!


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