Welcome to the Daily Herald's 2017-18 Academic Team.
Made up of high school graduates from the Northwest suburbs, Lake County, DuPage County and the Fox Valley -- these teams represent the best and brightest our schools have produced; dozens of the smartest, most hardworking and visionary young people you'll meet.
The honorees include graduating high school seniors who have achieved perfect or near-perfect ACT and SAT scores, have mastered 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.
Each of them has a unique plan for his or her future -- from scientific research to the arts, from business to eradicating disease. Where they all intersect is in having an eagerness for learning and the vision to set goals for themselves and follow through. They also are students who have been deeply involved in their school and community.
To make the Academic Team or be an honorable mention, a student must be nominated by his or her high school. They are measured on seven semesters of grades, test scores, grade-point averages, the awards and honors they have received, extracurriculars and scholarships. Students 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 as well as their accomplishments outside the classroom.
Meet the 2017-18 Academic Team winners and honorable mentions, and prepare to be amazed.