The Gandhi Family
Col. Akshai “Abu” and Dr. Merri Gandhi wanted a school that would challenge their daughter academically, teach her personal responsibility, and set her up for success. They also wanted a school that would focus on educating the whole child. That’s why they chose Hammond.
Abu is a colonel and F-16 fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, and Merri is a general dentist. The Gandhis first heard about Hammond School in Columbia, South Carolina from some of Abu’s colleagues whose spouses teach at the school. Though both Abu and Merri attended public school growing up, they wanted to ensure their daughter’s education focused on developing the whole child. They wanted Amelia to have as many opportunities as possible, especially in athletics and the arts. “These activities are readily incorporated throughout the entire experience at Hammond,” Abu says.
Amelia started Hammond in Pre-K and thrived in the classroom, learning new things every day. “I think the Lower School provides an exceptional foundation,” says Abu. “I like the fact that they exposed them to a lot of different things at a very early age, so you’re are laying that foundation, whether it be computer skills, foreign language, or structured physical education, they
are providing the basis for future growth.”
When Amelia was in 2nd grade, she was asked to sing the national anthem in front of the crowd at the high school football game on Veteran’s Day. With the Lower School Director beside her and the cheerleaders behind her while she sang, the school put her into a safe space so she could accomplish her goal. This event has stayed with Abu. “They set the scene to be successful,” he says. “You see little things like that all the time. We’re going to push the kids to do something, but we’re going to enable them to be successful.”
Abu and Merri have enjoyed watching their daughter grow and develop new skills over the years. Amelia is now in the 8th grade and still learning new things everyday. Abu says, “She has been taught how to reach further to achieve her potential, and every day that potential seems to grow. We are confident she will be exceptionally well prepared for the rigors of both college and life after school.”
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