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2009-2010 Lake County Academic Team
Published: 6/10/2010 12:01 AM

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2009-10 Academic Team

Stephanie Doong Stevenson High School

Hometown: Kildeer

Parents: Shain-Jer Doong, Shwu-ing Chen

Sponsor: Melissa Mack, English teacher

Class rank: 2 out of 1,092

GPA: 4.7882 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 35; SAT 2320

College: Stanford University; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Planned major: Engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar; American Invitational Mathematics Exam qualifier 2009, 2010

Personal statement: "I understand that success is earned only with a continual desire to improve. Success is the final triumph; a marker, a declaration of achievement. It seems to trivialize the motivation, hard work, the trepidations that lay the foundations for success. Thus my goal is not to merely succeed - to collect rewards, but to learn from and enjoy the journey that might lead to success."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She excelled in all areas of my class; she is a beautiful writer and insightful reader. In fact, I often saved her responses for last as a treat to myself after many long hours of grading."

Graduation photos - Stevenson High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Katherine Geusz Carmel Catholic High School

Hometown: Wauconda

Parents: Jeanne and Steven Geusz

Sponsor: Lynne Strutzel, principal

Class rank: 1 out of 348

GPA: 4.52 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 35

College: Loyola University, Chicago; University of Chicago; Illinois Wesleyan

Planned major: Undecided

Awards, honors: MathFAX, first place in geometry of Catholic school students nationally; Science department award; National Spanish Exam, gold prize

Personal statement: "My accomplishments thus far have convinced me that what I want out of life is to understand people on both intuitive and analytical levels, and to then use that knowledge to reshape society's attitudes."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is the kind of student who serves as a model of excellence to her peers. I have come to recognize her as an outstanding individual, highly motivated - someone who fits the description of a lifelong learner. Among her many assets are her willingness to work hard and her strong sense of responsibility. ... This student seeks knowledge for the sake of knowledge; she pursues beyond what is expected."

Graduation photos - Carmel Catholic High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Aaron Goone Stevenson High School

Hometown: Buffalo Grove

Parents: Linda and Michael Goone

Sponsor: Melissa Mack, English teacher

Class rank: 1 out of 1,092

GPA: 4.8022 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 35; SAT 2270

College: Dartmouth College

Planned major: Economics and Spanish

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; National AP Scholar; Gold Honor Roll throughout high school

Personal statement: "Throughout my high school career I have exerted my best effort in all areas because I firmly believe in learning for the sake of learning. While many students structure their time in high school to put themselves in the best position for a certain university and a certain career, I believe that an education should be different. I think that being a well-rounded intellectual is the most worthy end in itself, and a career will follow based on my interests."

Sponsor's endorsement: "In addition to his exemplary writing skills and willingness to step out of what was a successful writing comfort zone, this nominee was also a commanding presence in all class discussions. His perspective was always fresh, insightful and compelling."

Graduation photos - Stevenson High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Sean Hogan Vernon Hills High School

Hometown: Vernon Hills

Parents: John and Teresa Hogan

Sponsor: Judy Stone, counselor

Class rank: 1 out of 297

GPA: 4.662 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 35

College: University of Chicago; Duke University; Carnegie Mellon University

Planned major: Mathematics

Awards, honors: Two Time AIME Qualifier; IHSA All-Academic Team; Top finisher, V.S. Physics Bowl

Personal statement: "I'm thankful for all the opportunities I've had throughout high school and the accomplishments they brought with them. I am excited to continue to get to try out new activities, strengthen old skills, and learn new ones - and in doing so, follow some of my life goals of helping others, and learning new things."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Sean is one of the most naturally brilliant students I have encountered in my 20-plus years in education. Sean is a remarkable thinker; his ability to reason systematically is matched by his wit, cleverness, and zest for learning. I relish Sean's humorous insights as much as I admire the integrity of his ideas."

Graduation photos - Vernon Hills High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Stephanie Oehrlein Grant Community High

Hometown: Round Lake Beach

Parents: Jeffrey and Grazyna Oehrlein

Sponsor: Jinger Moore, counselor

Class rank: 2 out of 384

GPA: 4.871 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34

College: University of Chicago; Northwestern University

Planned major: Secondary math education and visual arts

Awards, honors: Salutatorian; top science student of the senior class; National Honor Society Certificate of Merit

Personal statement: "My biggest aspirations include helping others on a wider scale than teaching in a high school. In the same way that my accomplishments in high school will provide for an attainably excellent teaching career, I believe that all the things I experience and accomplish as a teacher will open doors for making the world a better place on a grand scale."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Probably the most impressive quality about this student is attitude. This student is always positive and calm and has a happiness that is contagious."

Graduation photos - Grant Community High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Weitao Qiang Libertyville High School

Hometown: Libertyville

Parents: Wenan Qiang and Jinrong Liu

Sponsor: Marina Scott, principal

Class rank: 1 out of 485

GPA: 4,782 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 35; SAT 2360

College: Massachutes Institute of Technology; California Institute or Technology; University of Chicago

Planned major: Bioengineering

Awards, honors: 2009 Siemens Competition Semifinalist; 2010 United States National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) National Exam Qualifier; Appointed to the nationally renowned Jackson Laboratory's Summer Student Program

Personal statement: "I hope to use my scientific and leadership talents to address the intricate biotech details needed to design and market viable products that will provide treatments and cures for many diseases. With each of my current accomplishments, I am closer to starting the project of my dreams: a biotech company of my own that is sustainable and beneficial for society."

Sponsor's endorsement: "He confirmed for me all that is right in education and personified what true academic excellence looks like."

Graduation photos - Libertyville High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Jeff Simnick Lake Zurich High School

Hometown: Lake Zurich

Parents: Diane and Ray Simnick

Sponsor: Carl Krause, counselor

Class rank: 1 out of 550

GPA: 4.520 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 33

College: University of Chicago; Northwestern University; University of Michigan

Planned major: Economics

Awards, honors: National Qualifier in Economics for FBLA; National Qualifier in Business Procedures for FBLA; Third place team in College of Lake County Accounting Honors Competition

Personal statement: "My mental agendas are structured with life goals ever-present in the back, dreams and wishes alphabetized on the left and daily realities always in the front. But perhaps instead of crossing these off when accomplished I store them as memories of a life full of accomplishments."

Sponsor's endorsement: "This young man will succeed in whatever he pursues in his life. But, along with his success, he will help others in various ways. ... He will make a difference with many members of the community that he lives to serve."

Graduation photos - Lake Zurich High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Julija Vinckeviciute Lakes Community High

Hometown: Lake Villa

Parents: Arturas and Violeta Vinckeviciai

Sponsor: Cheryl Cox, counselor

Class rank: 2 out of 344

GPA: 4.63 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 33; SAT 2040

College: Northwestern University; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Wisconsin

Planned major: Engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit Scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction; Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "Each day I try to be the best person I can possibly be, but the quality I am most proud of is my dedication. It has been nothing but hours of hard work and late nights that have gotten me to where I am today, and I could not be happier with my achievements."

Sponsor's endorsement: "What separates her from my other bright students is that she doesn't focus on what she has learned already, but how much more she wants to learn and experience. She learns not just for the grades, but for the sake of learning. "

Graduation photos - Lakes Community High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Michael J. Wagner Vernon Hills High School

Hometown: Vernon Hills

Parents: Jeffrey and Nancy Wagner

Sponsor: DeAnn Firnbach, counselor

Class rank: 2 out of 297

GPA: 4.635 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 36; SAT 2360

College: Princeton University; Dartmouth University; Northwestern University

Planned major: Biological sciences

Awards, honors: Summer Science Program, Ojai, Calif.; Abraham Lincoln Book Award Student Reader for 2011 Master List; James Glacking Young Musicians Competition finalist

Personal statement: "The sheer number of different career paths, from biomedical and health sciences to the performing arts, that are available throughout life would align with my interests and fulfill me. I know that any one of the careers will lead me down a path toward creativity, accomplishment, and variety and my goal is to unite all three of them into one profession so I can continue to pursue all the things I love to do."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I hope someday I can say, 'That Nobel Prize winner was once a student of mine.'"

Graduation photos - Vernon Hills High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Yuanxuan Xia Warren Township High School

Hometown: Gurnee

Parents: Zhiren Xia and Xiaorong Wang

Sponsor: Jayson Paulus, counselor

Class rank: N/A

GPA: 4.750 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 36

College: Washington University in St. Louis; Northwestern University; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Planned major: Biological sciences, biochemistry, molecular biology

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; USA Biology Olympiad (USABO) Semifinalist; USA Department of Education Presidential Scholar Candidate

Personal statement: "I have embraced my good fortune wholeheartedly, delving into my passions with an enthusiasm I know firsthand not everyone gets to enjoy. Luckily for me, the maxim, 'Do what you like,' has always led me back to the three S's: scholastics, service and sports - in my opinion, all prerequisites to success in college and in life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "He has proved to be one of the finest students I have encountered in my 23 years in education. Professional, thorough and responsible are words that come to mind when trying to describe his personality and work ethic."

Graduation photos - Warren Township High School

Honorable mentions

2009-10 Academic Team

Kathleen Burch Grayslake North High

Hometown: Grayslake

Parents: Mary Miller and Dan Burch

Sponsor: Jeff Schagrin, social studies teacher

Class rank: 2 out of 332

GPA: 4.591 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 31

College: University of North Carolina

Planned major: Political science

Awards, honors: National Merit Commended Student; AP Scholar with Distinction; Outstanding Social Studies Student

Graduation photos - Grayslake North High School

2009-10 Academic Team

James E. Hennessy Warren Twp. High School

Hometown: Gurnee

Parents: Janice and James Hennessy

Sponsor: Katherine A. Duffy, lead guidance counselor

Class rank: N/A

GPA: 4.70 on a traditional 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 34; SAT 2150

College: University of Illinois

Planned major: Accounting/economics

Awards, honors: National Merit finalist; Honor Roll; National Honor Society

Graduation photos - Warren Township High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Kristen King Libertyville High School

Hometown: Green Oaks

Parents: Don and Becky King

Sponsor: Marina Scott, principal

Class rank: 4 out of 485

GPA: 4.553 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 36

College: Emory University; Washington University in St. Louis; Carleton College

Planned major: Biology

Awards, honors: National Merit Commended Scholar; National Honor Society; Honor Roll

Graduation photos - Libertyville High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Marisa Lastres Carmel Catholic High School

Hometown: Lake Zurich

Parents: Rick and Kathy Lastres

Sponsor: Lynne Strutzel, principal

Class rank: 2 out of 348

GPA: 4.45 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 34; SAT 2270

College: University of Chicago; St. Louis University; Marquette University

Planned major: English

Awards, honors: Superior Honors student; Department Award in Social Studies; Service Club Bronze Award

Graduation photos - Carmel Catholic High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Kaitlin Leopold Lake Zurich High School

Hometown: Hawthorn Woods

Parents: Andrew and Barbara Leopold

Sponsor: Kaye Polakoff, guidance counselor

Class rank: 3 out of 549

GPA: 4.4953 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 34

College: University of Iowa; Tulane University; Georgia Institute of Technology

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: American Legion School Award; Illinois State Scholar; Special Recognition for Exceeding Standards on PSAE Test

Graduation photos - Lake Zurich High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Caitlin Mrowiec Antioch High School

Hometown: Antioch

Parents: Mark and Mary Mrowiec

Sponsor: Johnna Slocum, guidance counselor

Class rank: 3 out of 311

GPA: 4.636 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 33

College: Northern Michigan University

Planned major: Zoology

Awards, honors: Outstanding student, English department; Illinois State Scholar

Graduation photos - Antioch High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Robert Nogle Antioch High School

Hometown: Antioch

Parents: Greg and Mary Nogle

Sponsor: Marni Polakow, teacher and coach

Class rank: 5 out of 311

GPA: 4.62 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 33

College: Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Benedictine University

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: Straight A Honor Roll; school winner of AMC 12; Illinois State Scholar

Graduation photos - Antioch High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Mitchell L. Post Lakes Community High School

Hometown: Lindenhurst

Parents: Michael and Annette Post

Sponsor: Gwen Varney, guidance counselor

Class rank: 1 out of 344

GPA: 4.63 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 32

College: Drake University; Purdue University; Illinois State University

Planned major: Actuarial science/finance

Awards, honors: AP Scholar; Illinois State Scholar; Chicago Fire All Academic Second Team

Graduation photos - Lakes Community High School

2009-10 Academic Team

Daniel Sambor Lake Forest Academy

Hometown: Lake Zurich

Parents: George and Lisa Sambor

Sponsor: Andrew Poska, associate dean of college counseling

Class rank: N/A

GPA: 3.96 on a traditional 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 26

College: Brown University

Planned major: Engineering

Awards, honors: Cum Laude Society; AP Scholar with Distinction; Academic Performance List

2009-10 Academic Team

Shannon Zalewski Grayslake North High School

Hometown: Grayslake

Parents: Shannon Zalewski

Sponsor: Veronica Lujano, guidance counselor

Class rank: 1 out of 332

GPA: 4.605 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT 34; SAT 2040

College: Purdue University; University of Minnesota; Butler University

Planned major: Pre-pharmacy

Awards, honors: AP Scholar with Honors; Illinois State Scholar; 7th Semester Honor Roll

Graduation photos - Grayslake North High School