“You’ve done something really exceptional.”
Superintendent Harry Bull wasn’t kidding when he made that statement to a group of high school seniors who earned a perfect score of 36 on the 2016 ACT test. Out of the 2.1 million students who took the 2016 ACT test, less than one-tenth of one percent – or less than 2,000 students – earned a perfect score.
In Colorado, 58,616 students who are seniors this year took the test and 62 of them earned a perfect 36. Sixteen of those students are from the Cherry Creek School District and they were recognized by the district during a luncheon in their honor held on Feb. 16.
Those students are:
• Allan Chen – Cherry Creek High School
• Valliappan Chidambaram – Eaglecrest High School
• Julia Frostholm – Cherry Creek High School
• Katelyn Givan – Cherry Creek High School
• Alexander Martin – Overland High School
• Garrett Maus – Grandview High School
• Danish Mohammed – Grandview High School
• Kendra Neumann – Cherry Creek High School
• Diem Nguyen - Grandview High School
• Sarah Shapard – Overland High School
• Sean Smith – Cherry Creek High School
• Andrew Starr - Grandview High School
• Avi Swartz – Cherry Creek High School
• Nyle Sykes – Cherry Creek High School
• Abigail Weeks – Cherry Creek High School
• Andrew Ying – Cherry Creek High School
“Take time to reflect on this significant accomplishment,” Dr. Bull told the students. “Let yourself enjoy it.”
Before presenting each student with a keepsake award as proud parents and principals looked on, Bull asked them to introduce themselves and share a little bit about their future plans.
Andy Starr from Grandview High School will attend either the University of Colorado at Boulder, Vanderbilt or Yale.
“I’m looking to go into mechanical engineering and do something with drafting and design,” said Starr, who already has a great start in that area. While in high school, Starr earned industry certification in SolidWorks, an industry-leading, 3D, computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Andrew Ying from Cherry Creek High School will attend Stanford, where he will study symbolic systems, an interdisciplinary program combining computer science, linguistics, philosophy and psychology.
“I want to study and experiment with artificial intelligence and see where that takes me, whether it’s in the research field or something more entrepreneurial,” Ying said.
Fellow CCHS senior Abigail Weeks plans to study Arabic in Morocco next year, before pursuing a degree in environmental science at the University of Vermont. Kendra Neumann, also from CCHS, plans to attend college somewhere on the east coast and study international relations. Garrett Maus from Grandview High School will to study astrophysics at the University of New Mexico, while Sean Smith from Cherry Creek High School will study astrophysics and music composition at a still-to-be-determined college or university.
Alex Martin from Overland High School will study either English or environmental science at one of four schools: Carrollton, Northwestern, Pomona or Tufts University. CCHS senior Julia Frostholm is considering studying economics at either UCLA, Vanderbilt or the University of North Carolina before going on to law school. Avi Swartz, also from CCHS, will study computer science and molecular biology at Harvard.
“I want to run a research lab and try to find algorithmic approaches to curing diseases,” Swartz said.
Bull encouraged all of the students to “do something that gives you fulfillment, something that gives you joy.” He also reminded them to thank their parents, their teachers and other people who have supported them along the way.