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On August 25, 2000, a little boy popped out of his mother’s womb and decided, “You know what? I’m going to be famous one day.”

That boy was Diego Mohandas Rao.

From the moment his eyes first opened, they were turned to the stars. He gazed up at the heavens and decided he would take his place up there. He would become an astrophysicist, And who knew; maybe it would be he who would discover Earth’s twin within our reach. Or maybe he would at last uncover the very nature of the universe itself. The sky was literally the limit.

And then one day, Diego finally drew the connection between his middle name, Mohandas, and his destiny. His parents had named him after Mohandas K Gandhi, the founder of nonviolent resistance who led India to independence from colonial rule. The weight of the history of this name was not a burden, but a calling. This would be a reminder every time he wrote his name of who he could one day become. So he set his sights on public service in the hopes of one day fulfilling the legacy of the man whose name had been bestowed upon him.

The greatest mystery, perhaps, is why it took Diego so long to find this calling. Having traveled the world and learned Portuguese, German, Italian, and Spanish along the way, having watched the news every day for as long as he could remember, having been born the son of two immigrants, an Indian engineer and a Brazilian political scientist, Diego had become very familiar with the injustice Gandhi had fought. And he had always yearned for a way to join that fight.

It just took him a while to decide to really do it.

This was, for a time, an incredibly frustrating path for Diego to take. A young man, bound by the constraints of high school and naivete, he felt that he would never be able to make a mark that would not be washed away in the waters of time. No one listened to him. What did a teenager know about economics, about foreign policy, about leadership?

“Well,” he said to himself, “Maybe they do have a point.”

So he turned his voracious appetite for reading material away from the Harry Potter and the Sherlock Holmes that had filled his childhood days, and now set himself to consuming every book about history, economics, and politics that he could get his hands on.

He turned the fire and the grit that years of rowing after school had taught him into a passion and a drive to fight not only for his beliefs, but for his fellow man.

He turned the voice that had spent countless hours telling awful jokes to anyone who would listen (and many who wouldn’t) into the writer of numerous essays on politics and current events, blasting them across the internet to every corner of the world.

And he began scheming. After high school, he was aiming for the Ivy League. Then law school. This would serve as the launching point for a career in public office, one day working his way up to President of the United States.

In other words, he was reaching for those same stars his younger self had so eagerly chased.

And then came his day. A cold January morning, in the middle of a whispered debate on taxation while he should have been focusing on his classwork, Diego heard about the Ward Fellowship. A program dedicated solely to giving a kid like Diego the voice he had never had.

He already knew he was going to apply.

This would be the start of everything.

The start of his college application.

The start of his campaign for President.

The start of his life.