Meet the Daily Herald 2016-17 Academic Team - our best and brightest

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.

Honorable mentions: Lake County Academic Team, 2016-2017

Lake County Academic Team, 2016-2017

Honorable mentions: Fox Valley Academic Team, 2016-2017

Honorable mentions: DuPage County Academic Team, 2016-2017

Fox Valley Academic Team, 2016-2017

DuPage County Academic Team, 2016-2017

Honorable mentions: Northwest Suburban Academic Team, 2016-2017

Northwest Suburban Academic Team, 2016-2017

A big thank you to this year's Academic Team judges ...

  Members of the Daily Herald Lake County Academic Team from left kneeling, Vincent Nguyen, Lake Zurich High School; James Corbin, Mundelein High School; and Ryan R. Bogan, Libertyville High School. Sitting from left, Samantha Dickmann, Carmel Catholic High School; Elizabeth Bartusiak, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart; Amber Hu, Stevenson High School; and Ashwini Deshpande, Vernon Hills High School. Standing from left, Annika McDermott-Hinman, Libertyville High School; Ruchira Ray, Warren Township High School; and Alexander Frumkin, Mundelein High School. Steve Lundy/
  Members of the Daily Herald Fox Valley Academic Team are, from left, sitting, Amelia Deering, Elgin Academy; Nicole Renee Palmer, St. Charles North High School; Ryan Thornton, Marmion Academy; and from left, standing, Maximilian Hall Troyke, Elgin High School; Caitlin O'Callaghan, Illinois Math and Science Academy; Eshan Mehrotra, Illinois Math and Science Academy; Amanda Rose Drobek, St. Edward Central Catholic High School; Jacob Fiedler, Marian Central Catholic High School; Alan Koval, St. Charles East High School; and Maisy Feeley, Elgin Academy. John Starks/
  Members of the Daily Herald DuPage County Academic Team are, front and center, Jungin Angie Lee, Metea Valley High School. Left to right in the back, Grace Linrui Hong, Neuqua Valley; Whitney Jin, Waubonsie Valley; Stephen Bean, Glenbard South; William Zhang, Naperville Central; Emma Wilson, Downers Grove North; Rick Li, Naperville Central; James Mathew, Hinsdale Central; Kelvin Li, Naperville North; and Vivian Yuan, Naperville North. Bev Horne/
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