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2009-2010 Fox Valley Academic Team
Published: 6/10/2010 12:01 AM

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2008-09 Academic Team

William Barker Cary-Grove High School

Hometown Cary

Parents Bill and Kim Barker

Sponsor Jim Kelly, Dean of Students

Class rank 2 out of 448

GPA 4.595 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 34

College Purdue University

Planned major Engineering

Awards, honors Salutatorian, AP Scholar with Honors, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement "From the time I was in preschool, I always wanted to know how and why something worked. I was the kid who asked why two plus two was four and never settled with the fact that it does. Even in high school I find myself probing my teachers with questions to satisfy my desire for knowledge."

Sponsor's endorsement "He is the quintessential leader and was the captain of both the varsity football and basketball teams during this past seasons. He has been a great example to his teammates, classmates and to our local community. When he was on the field or the court, no one played harder than he. His efforts stood out due to his hustle, hard work and unselfish play."

Graduation photos - Cary-Grove High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Raynette Bierman Elgin Academy

Hometown Wayne

Parents John and Raynette Bierman

Sponsor Seth Hanford, Assistant Head of School and Director of Upper School

Class rank Students not ranked

GPA 4.1 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 31; SAT 1830

College University of Chicago

Planned major Neuroscience

Awards, honors Rotary "Straight A" Award, Cum Laude Society, George Eastman Young Leaders Award

Personal statement "Over the years, I have worked to satisfy my own goals in the process of fulfilling the guidelines given by my teachers. I consider my work to run parallel with the criteria of the teachers but apart at the same time. I enjoy being able to create something unexpected because it shows more about me as an individual."

Sponsor's endorsement "She is keenly interested in making the world around her better and, as such, she spends a substantial amount of time researching problems and finding ways to encourage our community to unite to address them."

Graduation photos - Elgin Academy

2008-09 Academic Team

Jess Ennis St. Charles North High School

Hometown St. Charles

Parents Sandra and Andrew Ellis

Sponsor Robert Freitag, counselor

Class rank 4 out of 547

GPA 5.8 on a 5.0 scale

Test scores ACT 33

College Emory University

Planned major International relations, theater

Awards, honors Academic High Honors, Prairie State Achievement Award, Illinois Director of Student Activities Scholarship

Personal statement "Although the marriage of my activities and academics has been a work in progress, it has given me a glimpse into the benefits of combining my studies and community involvement with the arts."

Sponsor's endorsement "This student is searching for some way to combine her love of dance, interest in international relations and firm desire to make the world a better place for the impoverished. She has the work ethic, native intelligence and academic background to successfully cope with the rigors of the most selective universities in the world."

Graduation photos - St. Charles North High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Edward Gibbons Cary-Grove High School

Hometown Cary

Parents Ed and Monica Gibbons

Sponsor Nora Huff, history teacher

Class rank 3 out of 448

GPA 4.568 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 35

College University of Notre Dame

Planned major Finance

Awards, honors Math Student of the Year, 10th in State Math Competition, AP Scholar with Distinction

Personal statement "Someone said that it takes a village to raise a child. I owe much to my parents, teachers and community who have provided me with the education and support that have allowed me to enjoy my successes thus far."

Sponsor's endorsement "Edward's character is one marked by a strong work ethic and dedication to his commitments. ... His academic work is almost always unmatched by that of his classmates. His assignments and assessments reflect not only careful preparation and attention to detail, but also a level of abstract and critical thinking that is not often seen amongst students his age."

Graduation photos - Cary-Grove High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Michelle Lisack Huntley High School

Hometown Huntley

Parents Pam and Tim Lisack

Sponsor Karen Miller, counselor

Class rank 1 out of 424

GPA 4.795 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 33

College Ball State University

Planned major Japanese and international business

Awards, honors Quill and Scroll, Board of Education Award of Excellence (2008-09), McHenry County Honor Band

Personal statement "Becoming an editor during my first year of my yearbook class was a huge accomplishment. Only a sophomore, I had no experience with writing or running a yearbook. In general, my skills were poor, and that led to some major train wrecks over the course of the year. What's that saying? Live and learn? That first year I lived through many painful mistakes. I learned. I improved myself."

Sponsor's endorsement "I cannot think of anyone with more integrity and leadership and who is truly deserving of all the top honors that a student of her aptitude and character should receive."

Graduation photos - Huntley High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Michael Mirski Ill. Math and Science Academy

Hometown Naperville

Parents Dr. Aleksander and Beata Mirski

Sponsor Roberto Suarez, College and Academic Counselor

Class rank Students not ranked

GPA Not available

Test scores ACT 35; SAT 2360

College University of Pennsylvania

Planned major Finance

Awards, honors National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar with Honors, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement "Entrepreneurialism has always been a cornerstone of my identity. I love finding the perfect idea. I love feverishly working, losing sleep, and simply thinking of ways to improve it. But most of all, I love seeing the final masterpiece succeed."

Sponsor's endorsement "His confidence and sense of humor bring out charming characteristics. Michael's highly motivated approach is based on the concept of never settling with the status quo. He strives for perpetual progression and relentlessly challenges himself."

2008-09 Academic Team

Joan Steffen Illinois Math and Science Academy

Hometown Elgin

Parents Kerin Kelly and F. John Steffen

Sponsor Bart Gregersen, College and Academic Counselor

Class rank Students not ranked

GPA Not available

Test scores SAT 2320

College Northwestern University

Planned major Anthropology or chemistry

Awards, honors National Merit Finalist, "Le Grand Concours" Certificate of Honor - National Laureate, Level 3A, 2009 AP Scholar

Personal statement "I have always loved traveling and I have visited Vietnam, England, France and Australia with my family in the past, but I never realized that my interest in other cultures could be translated into an academic experience."

Sponsor's endorsement "From an early age, Joan's parents taught her the importance of working hard and being self-driven. They also modeled the importance of using knowledge and skills gained to benefit the community in which they lived."

2008-09 Academic Team

Lauren Steimle Elgin Academy

Hometown St. Charles

Parents Jon and Dr. Cynthia Steimle

Sponsor Seth Hanford, Assistant Head of School and Director of Upper School

Class rank Students not ranked

GPA 4.04 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 32; SAT 2070

College Washington University in St. Louis

Planned major Biomedical Engineering

Awards, honors Quill and Scroll Society, Cum Laude Society, Rotary "Straight A" Award

Personal statement "I am still not entirely sure of my career goals, or even my further education goals. I do know, however, that I want a career that will allow me to make an impact on the lives of others in a huge way."

Sponsor's endorsement "Her academic accomplishments are especially impressive when one views them in light of her varied and significant commitments outside of the classroom. We laud her ability to exhibit maturity, as she chooses her activities wisely and balances her time appropriately. It is this even, mature demeanor that allows her to be such a successful leader by example."

Graduation photos - Elgin Academy

2008-09 Academic Team

Fiona Weeks Marian Central Catholic High

Hometown Huntley

Parents Margaret Flood and Patrick Weeks

Sponsor Rebecca Reed, counselor

Class rank 1 out of 174

GPA 4.5987 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 36; SAT 2370

College Tufts University

Planned major Pre-Medicine, community health

Awards, honors Semifinalist, U.S. Presidential Scholar (final pending); National Merit Finalist; State Finalist, Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Academic Challenge

Personal statement "I want to make a huge impact. More specifically, my goal is to improve maternal health care in developing countries. At this point, I see myself working as an obstetrician or gynecologist in Central or South America, but I am open to pushing other channels of improving health care."

Sponsor's endorsement "She is not only gifted in her intelligence, but she truly loves learning for its own sake, not just for the grades. She is a very motivated, serious student who will put in whatever time is needed to put forth her best efforts."

2008-09 Academic Team

Runnan Yang Crystal Lake South High School

Hometown Crystal Lake

Parents Hongzhuan Yang and Dan Zhu

Sponsor Colleen Cameron, AP English language teacher

Class rank 3 out of 475

GPA 4.49 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 36; SAT 2370

College University of Chicago

Planned major Economics, Computer Science

Awards, honors American Mathematics Contest, School Winner (10,12)

Personal statement "I want rebellion to be the status quo, heterodoxy to be mainstream, being different to be normal. In modern society, there are simply too many rules and rulings, explicit and implicit that constrict the kaleidoscope of self-expression that we are capable of. I want to fix this; I want every man, woman and child to have his own day in the sun."

Sponsor's endorsement "Although grades are important to him, teachers report that he has a true love of learning and is always prepared. Over the past four years, there has been a growing respect for him by his peers when he participates in class."

Graduation photos - Crystal Lake South High School

Honorable mentions

2008-09 Academic Team

Elizabeth Bertness Batavia High School

Hometown Batavia

Parents Kevin and Juli Bertness

Sponsor Steven Lesniak, school counselor

Class rank 1 out of 501

GPA 4.00 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 32

College University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Planned major Mechanical engineering

Awards, honors High School Highest Honors

Graduation photos - Batavia High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Lindsay Clark Dundee-Crown High School

Hometown Sleepy Hollow

Parents Annette and John Clark

Sponsor Kimberly Gavigan, Spanish teacher

Class rank 1 out of 530

GPA 5.92 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 33

College University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Planned major Business

Awards, honors AP Scholar with Honor, National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Graduation photos - Dundee-Crown High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Alyssa DiGilio St. Edward Central Catholic

Hometown West Dundee

Parents Scott and Andrea DiGilio

Sponsor Kerry O'Brien, head of counseling services

Class rank 4 out of 100

GPA 4.53 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 31

College Marquette University

Planned major Mathematics

Awards, honors Rotary Club Straight 'A' Award, Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering, third place in Biology in 2010 state finals

Graduation photos - St. Edward Central Catholic High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Grant Dixon H. D. Jacobs High School

Hometown West Dundee

Parents Chris and Michelle Dixon

Sponsor Michael Bregy, principal

Class rank 17 out of 579

GPA 5.71 on a 6.00 scale

Test scores ACT 33

College University of Southern California

Planned major Archaeology

Awards, honors National Honor Society

Graduation photos - H. D. Jacobs High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Christie Glemkowski Rosary High School

Hometown Batavia

Parents James and Deborah Glemkowski

Sponsor Patricia Burke, principal

Class rank 1 out of 103

GPA 4.30 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 34

College Franciscan University of Steubenville

Planned major Middle Childhood Education

Awards, honors First place in Chemistry in Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Sectionals Competition

Graduation photos - Rosary High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Christine Johnson Batavia High School

Hometown Batavia

Parents Colin and Lisa Johnson

Sponsor Alton Rollerson, guidance counselor

Class rank 1 out of 501

GPA 4.00 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 32

College Northwestern University

Planned major Biology

Awards, honors National Honor Society, National French Honor Society

Graduation photos - Batavia High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Erik Melchers H. D. Jacobs High School

Hometown Algonquin

Parents David and Barbara Melchers

Sponsor Tamara McKenna, counselor

Class rank 15 out of 579

GPA 5.75 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 33

College University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Planned major Civil engineering

Graduation photos - H. D. Jacobs High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Nhu Nguyen Huntley High School

Hometown Huntley

Parents Ha and Tina Nguyen

Sponsor Karen Miller, counselor

Class rank 2 out of 424

GPA 3.97 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 34

College Washington University in St. Louis

Planned major Biology

Awards, honors National Merit Commended Scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Graduation photos - Huntley High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Gina Paxson Dundee-Crown High School

Hometown Algonquin

Parents Donald and Linda Paxson

Sponsor Brian Fruits, English and drama teacher

Class rank 3 out of 530

GPA 5.81 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 32

College Illinois State University

Planned major Psychology

Awards, honors Illinois State Scholar, Envirothon Regional Team Champion

Graduation photos - Dundee-Crown High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Dan Phelan St. Edward Central Catholic

Hometown Hoffman Estates

Parents Bill and Lynn Phelan

Sponsor Kerry O'Brien, head of counseling services

Class rank 3 out of 100

GPA 4.57 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 33

College University of Notre Dame

Planned major Liberal arts

Awards, honors High Honor Roll, First place at Elgin Community College Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering for English

Graduation photos - St. Edward Central Catholic High School

2008-09 Academic Team

Sanjay Prakadan Marmion Academy

Hometown Aurora

Parents Mathews and Cissy Prakadan

Sponsor Paul Weberg, senior honors teacher

Class rank 2 out of 121

GPA 4.82 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 34

College University of Chicago

Planned major Economics

Awards, honors Class Salutatorian, National Merit Commended Scholar

Graduation photos - Marmion Academy

2008-09 Academic Team

Eric Schwendner Marmion Academy

Hometown St. Charles

Parents Lee and Carla Schwendner

Sponsor Paul Weberg, senior honors teacher

Class rank 3 out of 121

GPA 4.80 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 33

College University of Illinois

Planned major Computer engineering

Awards, honors AP Scholar, Math Team Captain State Finalist

Graduation photos - Marmion Academy

2008-09 Academic Team

Steven Sheldon Crystal Lake South High School

Hometown Crystal Lake

Parents Richard and Barbara Sheldon

Sponsor Brian Adcock, AP calculus teacher

Class rank 2 out of 475

GPA 4.64 on a 4.00 scale

Test scores ACT 34; SAT 2240

College University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Planned major Computer science

Awards, honors National Merit Scholarship Finalist, AP Scholar with Honor

Graduation photos - Crystal Lake South High School