The Daily Herald's 2016-17 Academic Teams -- from the Northwest suburbs, Lake County, DuPage County and the Fox Valley -- represent the best and brightest our schools have to offer. These teenagers are some of the smartest and most dedicated academics you've ever met.
The honorees include graduating high school seniors who have achieved perfect or near-perfect ACT and SAT scores, who have taken the most rigorous courses their schools have to offer and are making plans to be further challenged in top-ranked colleges and universities across the country.
To make the Academic Team or be an honorable mention, a student must be nominated by his or her high school. Each student supplies his or her grades for seven semesters, test scores, grade-point averages, a list of awards and honors, extracurriculars and scholarships. Students must write personal essays describing why they have pledged themselves to their studies and what they want to do with their lives. A teacher or counselor must write a letter of recommendation for each nominee that talks about their academic prowess and also about what the teen has done in life besides academics.
But it's not enough to have merely mastered their high school subjects; the teens we celebrate here also show themselves to be whole people -- involved in their school and community, and who have a purpose behind their hard work.
Meet the 2016-17 Academic Team winners and honorable mentions, and prepare to be amazed.