COLUMBUS — Kalpit Wemhoff doesn’t believe in luck.
Rather, he thinks he’s blessed.
The 17-year-old Lakeview High School student knows his life could have taken a different turn.
“I think about it all the time. At least once a week,” the senior said.
He wonders if he would have stayed in school. He wonders if he would have plans to become a pilot through the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He wonders what would have happened to his sisters Sumithra, 18, and Vijay, 15.
Those thoughts are always running through Wemhoff’s mind now that he is settled in a home with adoptive parents Ed and Lisa Wemhoff. The couple adopted Kalpit and his sisters after the three were removed from an abusive situation.
Kalpit clearly remembers the date — Sept. 8, 2015 — when he, Sumithra and Vijay officially became part of the Wemhoff family. That ended a time of turmoil for the siblings, who were removed from their first adoptive family in 2012.
The three lived for a while with a couple in Fremont then were taken in by the Wemhoffs in 2013. They were adopted about two years later.
Kalpit is thankful for a secure home life provided by the Wemhoff family, which also includes Nate, 14, and Luke, 11.
“When we moved in with the Wemhoffs, we were a mess, but they stuck it out. I don’t know if any other parent could do that. I totally respect them for that. They made us three who we are today and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Kalpit said.
School was a refuge for Kalpit, and a place where he thrives. He hopes to maintain the 4.0 grade-point average he achieved during the first semester of this school year. His work in the classroom, which also includes dual-credit courses, stands out.
“Kalpit continues to go above and beyond expectations, which is no surprise as he set high expectations for himself. Kalpit shows his resiliency every day as he does not let any obstacle stand in his way. He knows what he wants and how he is going to get there,” said Lakeview counselor Paige Rambour.
One of his favorite classes is principles of technology, where students use math and science skills to create robots. He's also had a full slate of extracurricular activities over the years, including cross country, track, speech, Language Club, student manager for boys basketball and chess club. He also works at Lakeview Small Engines.
Principal Steve Borer praises Kalpit’s determination.
“Something that stands out about Kalpit is that he is very eager to learn and takes advantage of his educational opportunities. I am excited to see what Kalpit does in his future. No matter what he chooses to do, I strongly believe he will have an impact on others,” he said.
Born in India, Kalpit came to America when he was 2 1/2 years old. His sisters are also from India. The three aren’t blood-related, but are family.
“We had this bond nobody could break. That stayed with us no matter what family we were with,” Kalpit said.
The teenager hopes to visit India one day to learn more about his heritage. That is just one country he wants to see. He would also like to go to Spain, Italy and Germany. Maybe that can happen when he becomes a pilot, a dream he's had since grade school.
Kalpit sees a bright future for himself. He isn’t bitter about his past. Instead, he views that as a reason to be kind.
“I think you should treat others as you would have them treat you. Obviously that wasn’t how it was in my first household, but in everyday life, that is what I live by,” he said.