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posted: 5/25/2012 5:00 AM

2011-2012 Lake County Academic Team

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  • The 2011-12 Lake County Academic Team outside the Daily Herald's Libertyville office. Back row, from left: Lissa Mandell, Lake Zurich High School; David Bouma, Grant Community High School; Jonathan Kersky, Adlai E. Stevenson High School; Patrick Juras, Lake Zurich High School. Middle row, from left: Elizabeth Ulanday, Libertyville High School; Nicole Schmidt, Mundelein High School; Ingrid Watts, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart; Hannah Kay, Adlai E. Stevenson High School. In front, Soledad Mendoza, Round Lake High School. Not pictured: Jenna Westerberg, Warren Township High School.

       The 2011-12 Lake County Academic Team outside the Daily Herald's Libertyville office. Back row, from left: Lissa Mandell, Lake Zurich High School; David Bouma, Grant Community High School; Jonathan Kersky, Adlai E. Stevenson High School; Patrick Juras, Lake Zurich High School. Middle row, from left: Elizabeth Ulanday, Libertyville High School; Nicole Schmidt, Mundelein High School; Ingrid Watts, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart; Hannah Kay, Adlai E. Stevenson High School. In front, Soledad Mendoza, Round Lake High School. Not pictured: Jenna Westerberg, Warren Township High School.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • David Bouma

      David Bouma

  • Patrick Juras

      Patrick Juras

  • Hannah Kay

      Hannah Kay

  • Jonathan Kersky

      Jonathan Kersky

  • Lissa Mandell

      Lissa Mandell

  • Soledad Mendoza

      Soledad Mendoza

  • Nicole Schmidt

      Nicole Schmidt

  • Elizabeth Ulanday

      Elizabeth Ulanday

  • Ingrid Watts

      Ingrid Watts

  • Jenna Westerberg

      Jenna Westerberg

 

David Bouma

Grant High School

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Hometown: Round Lake

Parents: Roger and Charlene Bouma

Sponsor: Lawrence Elliot, counselor

Class rank: 1 out of 419

GPA: 5.06 on a 4.0 weighted scale

Test scores: ACT: 33

Planned major: Biology/biochemistry

Awards, honors: Valedictorian; Illinois State Scholar; National Honor Society

Personal statement: "My experience in high school, both my academic success, and my learning the value of cooperation, have, I hope, enabled me to become better at what I want to be as an adult. I know that, after achieving success throughout high school, I can continue to do so in the collegiate and working world, not only using my intelligence, but also my willingness to work as part of a cohesive whole, for the furtherment of medical society."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Throughout his high school career David has proved to be a phenomenal student. Simply stated, as a student, athlete and a member of numerous organizations, David has proved to have the leadership qualities, work ethic, and dedication to become a very successful and influential member of our society."

Patrick K. Juras

Lake Zurich High School

Hometown: Hawthorn Woods

Parents: Barry and Laura Juras

Sponsor: Jennie Bentley, counselor

Class rank: 1st out of 516

GPA: 4.667 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2280

Planned major: Architecture, civil engineering

Awards, honors: Valedictorian; National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar

Personal statement: "If the entirety of mankind's existence were simplified to a single day, each one of us would live for only a few short seconds. I don't want to create ripples on the pond of humanity's collective conscious; I want to create waves that will resonate for generations to come -- a positive impact that gives my short life a more profound meaning."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Patrick puts his heart into everything. He is first in his class but his success is not just about his grades; reliable, dedicated, and personable, he enjoys participating in a variety of activities and excels in everything. In the classroom his insights allow discussions to reach the next level. Kind, respectful, and articulate, he possesses the maturity and intellect of someone well beyond his years."

Hannah Kay

Stevenson High School

Hometown: Lincolnshire

Parents: Dickie and Mary Kay

Sponsor: Brett Erdmann, AP Biology teacher; Community Service Coordinator

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.7901 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2190

Planned major: Biology

Awards, honors: Outstanding Junior Biology Award; Rachel Carson Award (English/Science); Outstanding Junior Social Studies Award

Personal statement: "Although I am unsure of exactly what I want to do, it will have something to do with relating to people, for this is one strength I have really developed thus far. No matter what profession I pursue, I have learned through accomplishments and experiences that one must make the most of opportunities that present themselves."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She has a proven track record of high performance; she is one of the nicest students I have every worked with and is extremely mature in her social/peer interactions. Hannah's overwhelming excitement to engage in lifelong learning will drive her to accomplish wonderful things."

Jonathan Kersky

Stevenson High School

Hometown: Buffalo Grove

Parents: Cheryl and Stuart Kersky

Sponsor: Denise Foster, communication arts teacher

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.7848 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2380

Planned major: Biochemistry or biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; Illinois State Scholar; Jefferson Award for Public Service

Personal statement: "When I was in fourth grade, my uncle died from cancer. It was at that early age that I decided I wanted to be an oncologist. This has driven me to give my best effort in my academics. Becoming a doctor is a long road, and understanding the difficulty has given me motivation to take the most rigorous courses available."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Witty and personable, Jonathan is a stellar student who has earned respect from peers and faculty alike. No sooner does he meet one goal than he commits himself to another. Jonathan knows how to work and thrives on challenge -- whether for a math competition, a Scholastic Bowl Tournament, or a cross-country meet."

Lissa Mandell

Lake Zurich High School

Hometown: Deer Park

Parents: Robert and Julie Mandell

Sponsor: Matt Liberatore, counselor

Class rank: 2nd out of 516

GPA: 4.6304 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Biology and Spanish

Awards, honors: Fifth place, biology, Worldwide Youth in Science & Engineering state competition; first, biology, WYSE sectionals; AP Scholar with Honor

Personal statement: "I've dug so deeply into biology because I want to do something about autism. I've compiled as much AP credit as I can to finish undergraduate school sooner, and start researching while working toward a PhD. I want to prevent parents from having to deal with the struggles I've seen our family friends go through, to develop tests and therapies so these genetic mutations, or deletions, don't make their way into the next generation."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She not only has the academic character but the leadership and personal character to match. She is responsible and takes every interaction as a serious responsibility to enrich her connection within the community."

Soledad Mendoza

Round Lake High School

Hometown: Round Lake Beach

Parents: Joe and Maria Mendoza

Sponsor: Anna Foecking, counselor

Class rank: 1st out of 435

GPA: 4.635 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34

Planned major: English, with concentration in journalism and pre-law

Awards, honors: National Merit Scholar, Commended; AP Scholar; Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "I have never aimed to have perfect grades or perfect test scores. But, I have striven to challenge myself as much as possible, simply for the sake of learning and bettering myself. While not all my endeavors have been successful, I believe the desire to achieve is what is most important, and passion is one thing I will never lack."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She works hard to perform well, and gives more of herself through multiple volunteer activities, using her bilingual skills to serve those not fluent in English within our community. She leads with passion and enthusiasm."

Nicole Schmidt

Mundelein High School

Hometown: Wauconda

Parents: Ralph and Kim Schmidt

Sponsor: Jeffrey Harding, teacher

Class rank: 6th out of 529

GPA: 4.33 on a traditional 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34

Planned major: Computer science -- artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction

Awards, honors: AP Scholar With Distinction; High Honor Roll; Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "My interest in computers has ... evolved into a love of all things technological. This is what prompted me to join robotics freshman year and instantly become team captain and head programmer. It offers the type of challenges that provoke me to think: 'I want to use this to make a positive difference in the world.'"

Sponsor's endorsement: "Just knowing material is never sufficient ... she wants to know 'why' things are true, the reasons things are the way they are. She strives for knowledge in order to get a complete picture. Nicole not only pushes and challenges herself to the highest level, but she did that to me and our class on a regular basis."

Elizabeth Ulanday

Libertyville High School

Hometown: Libertyville

Parents: Fred and Myrna Ulanday

Sponsor: Nancy Stetter, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.5840 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2300

Planned major: Pre-med; music

Awards, honors: U.S. Chemistry Olympiad National Finalist; National Merit Finalist

Personal statement: "Helping others has always been a passion of mine; I know that in whatever profession I choose, it will be my personal goal to use that career as a platform to be able to touch others' lives and make a difference in the world in which we live. My achievements and experiences in high school are preparing and equipping me to be able to do so."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Elizabeth will be successful long after she graduates. She is well-prepared for the academic, social, and emotional challenges that she will face while attending college. I am more than confident she will make a positive impact on the student body at whatever college she chooses to attend."

Ingrid Watts

Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart

Hometown: Lake Bluff

Parents: Bruce and Susan Watts

Sponsor: Madonna Lee Edmunds, principal

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.67 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34

Planned major: Economics

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; National Honor Society; AP Scholar

Personal statement: "For me, the greatest accomplishments emerge from intangible experiences -- solitary hours immersed in the violin, discoveries made through study, face-to-face time with underserved children. They are the moments that stimulate learning as a process rather than an outcome, revealing fulfillment that drives the thirst for knowledge. They set me free to meditate the world's gifts and my reciprocal responsibility."

Sponsor's endorsement: "This young woman thirsts for knowledge, and has a deep sense of intellectual curiosity and a true love for learning. She possesses a strong sense of personal integrity, a profound sense of justice and a rich sense of humor."

Jenna Westerberg

Warren Twp. High School

Hometown: Grayslake

Parents: Dave and Lisa Westerberg

Sponsor: Jayson Paulus, counselor

Class rank: 10th out of 1,162

GPA: 4.58 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2300

Planned major: Aeronautical engineering or naval architecture

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

Personal statement: "My goal has been to live a life of service. Throughout high school I have maintained my goal of attending the U.S. Naval Academy to serve my country as an officer. My accomplishments, both academic and extracurricular, have helped me to reach this goal, and will continue to aid me in my pursuit of a life of service and leadership."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Her personality, maturity and professionalism make her stand out. She has developed a sense of volunteerism and exceeds when most students would consider the job complete. At a time when many teens are introspective, Jenna has searched for ways to interact with and help others."

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