Freshman Rishubh Kaushal unexpectedly passes away


photo courtesy of Techniques

Aubrie Holman, who was Kaushal’s biology teacher and Science Olympiad sponsor, recalled looking back at Science Olympiad pictures of Rishubh and finding it impressive how he interacted with students of all grades. Her most vivid memory of Rishubh involves him crafting Science Olympiad test questions to help out a teammate. “If there was something that wasn’t working [on a Science Olympiad device], he never got discouraged. He just troubleshot until he could get it to work,” Holman said.

Katherine Du, Editor-in-Chief

Rishubh Kaushal, freshman member of marching band and Science Olympiad, passed away on April 2. He was an outstanding student and compassionate member of the community.

Freshman Neal Bhatnagar met Kaushal in sixth grade. Through participating in the same classes and clubs, they became closer friends the following year.

“He made jokes that didn’t even make sense, but he lit up the room anyways with his contagious laugh and smile,” Bhatnagar said.

Band director Adam Foreman first met Kaushal in May 2017, when Kaushal joined marching band. Kaushal was supposed to be in symphonic band during his freshman year, but due to a scheduling conflict, he joined percussion ensemble instead and learned a new instrument to avoid giving up curricular band. Foreman remembers Kaushal as a “model freshman,” polite and full of life.

“[Kaushal] always loved to play; he always wanted to learn, he always wanted to help out,” Foreman said. “[He was] someone who seemed to really enjoy everything he did down here and someone who got a lot out of being part of our groups. He worked the hardest he possibly could to do his job.”

Senior Tamun Hanjra, Kaushal’s piccolo section leader in marching band, stood next to Kaushal at the beginning section of each marching band show. She remembers Kaushal’s warm personality, caring, and humor.

“[Marching band] can be a very grueling thing to do, especially in the summer when the sun is shining and it’s long hours, long days,” Hanjra said. “But he would always have a good joke to say. Even if it was a bad joke, the way that he would say it would make everyone around him laugh.”

Kaushal’s English teacher Stephanie Glotfelty described him as a “Renaissance-man in teenager form.” In addition to having a knack for science, his classmates voted him to be a representative for the Poetry Out Loud grade-level competition. After freewrites in English, his classmates would wait for Kaushal to share his writing, because they knew that he would volunteer.

“He would often try to make everything alliterative, so the entire freewrite would be words that started with ‘f’ or something,” Glotfelty said. “It was usually ridiculous, and everybody would laugh.”

Physical education (PE) teacher Melissa Stile describes Kaushal as an oxymoron, a meld of maturity and child-like innocence. Kaushal always had song suggestions to play while running in his fourth period PE class, his favorite being Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” He would sing and skip to the songs as he ran, boosting Stile with energy and pulling her through the exhausting last period of the day.

“He was super vocal, very talkative, and assertive…in a self-assured, fun, confident manner,” Stile said. “He was the student who, if he was yelling out something during class, it was never disruptive or bothersome. He usually was interjecting something so funny or so poignant, that it made us pause and fall over in laughter.”

Glotfelty, Stile, his biology teacher and Science Olympiad sponsor Aubrie Holman, and his counselor Kacey McAleer agree that Kaushal had the unique ability to remind those he touched that they are important to him, without fail.

Kaushal’s family held his service on April 7 from 10-1 p.m. at Adams-Green Funeral home in Herndon, Va. McAleer was impressed by how many classmates and friends spoke at the service about Kaushal caring for them and how he “was their number one best friend.”

If you are struggling with Kaushal’s passing and/or need someone to talk to, please reach out to trusted adults, such as the counselors, or use the mental health resources below.


Mental health resources:

  • Text NEEDHELP to 85511 for the Crisis Link Hotline or call 703-527-4077
  • Chat online with a specialist at or
  • Call an emergency mental health center: 703-573-5679 (Merrifield Center), 703-536-2000 (Dominion Hospital), 703-289-7560 (INOVA emergency services)       
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255