Humans of Harker: Friendly competition

Tuhin Chatterjee creates close bonds through sports and kindness


Esha Gohil

“What I like most about [soccer] is just seeing my team improve along with me throughout the four years of high school because in freshman year, most of us were [junior varsity] … and just seeing us all progress to the varsity team and become varsity players, [is] what I enjoy most about it,” Tuhin Chatterjee (12) said. 

Quiet fills the air on the field as the ball nears the opposing team’s goal, the players passing it between each other with speed and precision. Clad in his green Harker athletics uniform, Tuhin Chatterjee (12) watches for the decisive moment, nothing breaking his concentration. With a swift kick, the ball flies toward the goal, and both teammates and the crowd watch as the ball meets the net, signaling a victory for the Harker varsity soccer team and causing cheers to erupt all around the field. 

Sports are a defining aspect not only of Tuhin’s high school experience, but also of his life experience. While he began playing both soccer and tennis when he entered Harker in sixth grade, he has been playing both sports ever since he was 7 years old.  

“What I like most about [soccer] is just seeing my team improve along with me throughout the four years of high school because in freshman year, most of us were [junior varsity] … and just seeing us all progress to the varsity team and become varsity players, [is] what I enjoy most about it,” Tuhin said. 

The competitive aspect of sports is significant for Tuhin, but he also enjoys seeing those around him improve along with him. He also appreciates the benefits that sports provide him, such as helping him relax. 

“[Sports are] kind of like a destressor for me. Although people say it takes up so much time from schoolwork, after a school day, going to sports practice is my destressor and it makes me relax,” Tuhin said.

Sports have also helped Tuhin create closer bonds with his friends. From practicing together frequently to blasting music in the locker rooms or simply talking to each other, the sports teams that Tuhin participates in have created strong friendships.  

“My closest friend group all got super close because of freshman year soccer, so we got so close purely because we spent every day together practicing everything. My upperclassmen friends throughout my underclassmen years were all because of sports,” Tuhin said. 

He has also formed strong connections with his teachers, as his funny and kind personality stands out. Dr. Smriti Koodanjeri, former chemistry teacher at the upper school, taught Tuhin in his sophomore year, and she noted that she was able to have fun conversations with Tuhin in Bengali, a language that they both can speak. She also noted his personal growth throughout his sophomore year chemistry class. 

“My first impression [of him] was quiet, I’ll have to get him out of his shell, it’ll be some work, and by the time we were finished with the course, he was just outright funny and fun,” Dr. Koodanjeri said. 

Tuhin has also participated in DECA, as he discovered an interest in business in his freshman year and enjoys the competitive aspect. He has also participated in spirit club because of the friendly yet competitive environment and the opportunities for class bonding. 

“One thing [about spirit] is definitely just building memories with my class, but I also really like just being in the front row and having everyone run up on stage when we win, [or just] get excited and everything, I just really like that feeling,” Tuhin said. 

Tuhin describes himself as the jokester of his friend group, and his funny, welcoming personality translates into his spirit participation. When school was still in-person, Tuhin would frequently participate in all of the spirit events, and he also once wore a pumpkin costume to encourage more people to join. His teachers have noticed his positive and kind personality and the fact that he makes it easy for people to talk to him.

“I think that people will remember Tuhin because he is kind and because he does want to help people and that he cares about people, and those are the kinds of things that people remember about you,” upper school history and social science teacher Roxana Pianko said. “Those are the kinds of qualities that stick with people, that you showed them kindness, that you acknowledged their humanity, and I think that those are strengths that Tuhin has.”

His friendly personality also shows through Link Crew, a program that Tuhin has participated in since his junior year. When he was a freshman, his Link Crew members for his advisory had a positive impact on his experience, and he wanted to do the same for incoming freshmen. Overall, his kindness and dedication has impacted his close friends. 

“He’s very down-to-earth, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, he’s funny, he’s smart, in love with soccer,” close friend Roberto Salgado (12) said. 

In addition to his various school activities, Tuhin has competitively trained his German shepherd dog, Sofii, for a competition called Schutzhund, which focuses on obedience and protection training. His dedication is visible through this competition, as he spent time each day training Sofii in addition to attending training sessions every Friday. His dedication also shines through his interest in biochemistry. When he first discovered this interest, he devoted time and energy to learning more about it, which has contributed to his love for chemistry.

“When I put my mind to something, I get really into it. I’m really focused and determined,” Tuhin said. “In sophomore year, when I chose that I enjoyed chemistry, I did more research on it, focused on it, took more courses on it and I truly found a love for it, so if I find something I like, I will put in full effort into it and see where it can lead to.”

Overall, Tuhin’s kindness and positivity has impacted those around him and will continue to do so in the future.  

“I want to be remembered for being able to make everyone smile even if the times are hard. Everyone knows that I can make jokes and stuff and make them smile, so I just want people to remember me for bringing positivity to groups,” Tuhin said.