I'm sure I'm not the only one saddened by the death of 16-year-old Vikas Parika, the math and science standout from Rocky Hill who died in the schoolbus accident early Saturday on I-84.
As someone who's worked with bright teenagers for more than 15 years, I have a sense of the kind of kid Vikas was. The loss is heartbreaking and far reaching.
He was on a schoolbus at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning with classmates from the Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Sciences, heading for a robotics competition at Farmington High School. That alone tells you quite a bit, that he'd get out of bed on a rare morning he could sleep in (high school schedules are brutal on a natural adolescent sleep pattern) to join like-minded young math and science stars to see who made the best and coolest robot.
But we've learned also from stories in the Hartford Courant (www.courant.com) Sunday and today that his family and friends remember a warm, funny young man. He was clearly an ambitious kid who was going places. He wanted to attend MIT and may well have made it.
Vikas could have been the one to solve some complex question that helped in medicine, space, technology or the environment. There's no limit to what he could have done and now we'll never know. My heart goes out to his family and the large circle of lives he touched.