The Gift of Education
alternate text Maya Angelou famously said, “If you don't like something, change it.” Anish Athalye, a 2013 Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student scholarship top winner takes these words to heart.

When Anish saw a fellow student with cerebral palsy having trouble typing on a regular computer keyboard, he used his computer science savvy to fix the problem. He developed an app that allows the student to type onto large keys on an iPad. The program uses an algorithm to suggest words as he types, then transfers the text to a computer.

Pursing His Passion

Enthralled with computer science from an early age, Anish, sponsored by Worcester, Mass., Lodge No. 243, is now headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to pursue his passion.

“MIT is one of the best computer science schools in the world,” says Anish. “I’m enchanted with the people because everyone is so into academics.”

Making Music for Others

Anish’s passion for service doesn’t stop at computer science. He also uses his musical talents to help others.

“I came up with the idea to hold fundraiser concerts to support students in India,” says Anish. “As someone whose family highly values education, I felt I had to help other students succeed.”

Anish and his brother hold annual Gift of Education fundraisers to raise money for underprivileged children in India. So far, they’ve held five concerts and sponsor five students’ educations.

An Education for All

The Elks, like Anish, strive to ensure America’s brightest obtain quality educations. This is why the Elks National Foundation awarded Anish a $60,000 Most Valuable Student scholarship.

“It is a great feeling, and I am honored that the ENF chose me,” says Anish. “It’s really going to help me pay for college. It means that I can go to the school of my dreams.”

In 2013-14, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships, which now feature 20 top awards of at least $20,000. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit

Back to top