Adam Alfredo Ball
Glenbard North High School
Hometown: Carol Stream
Parents: Michael and Anita Ball
Sponsor: Kim Saxton, chemistry teacher
Class rank: 3 out of 621
GPA: 5.77 on a 5.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 36
Planned major: Physics and math
Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar, Presidential Scholar (candidate), Fermilab internship award
Personal statement: "Anyone who can be wholly represented on paper is but a shadow of a man. This may sound strange coming from someone who loves math and science as much as I do, but I believe the most important aspects of a person are those which cannot be quantitatively measured. It is these qualities in me that I believe contribute the most toward making my dream of a career in scientific research a reality."
Sponsor's endorsement: "I am impressed by both his intellect and his time management skills. In my career I have had very few students of Adam's caliber. I look forward to hearing what great things he does in the future."
Parents: John Birkenheier and Jane Sajewski
Sponsor: Kimberly Kopec, counselor
Class rank: School does not rank
GPA: 4.727 on a 4.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2280
Planned major: Aerospace engineering
Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, AP Scholar, All Academic All Conference Cross-Country, National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar
Personal statement: "My accomplishments, especially in academics, are directly linked to my foremost goal in life, which is to design airplanes. I have always been fascinated, and enthralled, by flight, and as a result, from a very young age, my goal has been to become an aeronautical engineer. This is closely tied to my academic success because of the challenging nature of the field, which is only a stone's throw from rocket science."
Sponsor's endorsement: "A lifelong learner, community contributor and responsible young man, he is someone our high school is proud to have walked the halls of our high school."
Mohammed S. Fahad
College Preparatory School of America
Hometown: Oak Brook
Parents: Mohammed Altaf Saleem and Nooruzsabha Seema Ahmed
Sponsor: Nafe Hussein, math and science department chairman
Class rank: 1 out of 37
GPA: 4.833 on a 4.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2320
Planned major: Economics and physics; going pre-medicine
Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar, National AP Scholar, Presidential Scholar, Hugh O'Brian representative
Personal statement: "I am, of course, proud of what I have been able to achieve academically in my life, and of my active involvement in various clubs. But these things I consider more my responsibility than 'accomplishments.' My true success is found in helping others when it is not so easy or expected."
Sponsor's endorsement: "A few of his most impressive qualities are his independence, willingness to work, and how he will ask for help only after exhausting all other avenues of approach. He exemplifies the term 'self-starter.'"
Wheaton Warrenville South
Parents: Darren and Gina Frasca
Sponsor: Jeff Pawlak, school counselor
Class rank: 2 out of 547
GPA: 5.75 on a 5.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 35
Planned major: Biomedical engineering
Awards, honors: National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar
Personal statement: "The special needs individuals with whom I have interacted demonstrate such strength and joy even though they are faced with daily adversity. I would like to make an impact in their lives by designing devices that could enable a special needs individual to more fully participate in daily life. I am interested in becoming a chemical or biological engineer because therein lies the opportunity to improve lives compromised or destroyed by injury or disease. Through my work, I want to be able to give hope to people whose quality of life has been limited by the seemingly impossible."
Sponsor's endorsement: "What is impressive is how Mia never gets overwhelmed with the high expectation associated with her workload; instead, she prioritizes her responsibilities and thrives at time management."
Wheaton North High School
Parents: Robert and Cynthia Hummel
Sponsor: Carol McCallum, counselor
Class rank: 1 out of 482
GPA: 5.8 on a 5.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2380
Planned major: Pre-medicine, biology
Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar
Personal statement: "Hopefully, all of my hard work during high school will pay off by allowing me to make a dream I have sustained for the past eight years a reality. As a doctor, I want to be a surgeon, possibly in cardiology or gastroenterology, but that will likely change a dozen times before I actually have to decide on a specific discipline to study. Whatever that turns out to be, working as a doctor will be a fulfilling, intellectually stimulating career that will allow me to significantly improve the lives of others on a daily basis, and I am quite looking forward to that as my future."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Her work ethic is next to none. She is so determined to be successful in everything that she enters into."
Hinsdale Central High School
Parents: Gregory Lewis and Mary Strek
Sponsor: Cindy Rodkin, counselor
Class rank: School does not rank
GPA: 5.98 on a 5.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2390
Planned major: Political economy, math, or history
Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar
Personal statement: "I don't know yet what specific career I want to pursue when I am an adult or even what field I should go into. Because of this, I have spent my time in high school learning skills that will serve me well later in life regardless of what field I enter. The most basic of these skills is the ability to communicate. I have found that the ability to communicate confidently and effectively serves me well within the classroom and without."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Inquisitive, assertive and driven are three words that come to mind when I think of this student. She is a quick learner, an engaged listener, and above all a critical thinker. She loves to learn and will often supplement her learning outside of class."
St. Francis High School
Parents: Morgan and Kappo McDonnell
Sponsor: Trudy Rigney, director of guidance
Class rank: 1 out of 179
GPA: 5.31 on a 4.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: SAT: 2170
Planned major: Biology, graphic design
Awards, honors: AP Scholar, Dartmouth "Outstanding Junior Student" Book Award from the Dartmouth Club of Chicago, 2011; National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar
Personal statement: "The entire discovery process in science fascinates me. That being said, I plan to pursue a career in the biological sciences and further develop my education and experience by getting my Ph.D. There are just so many unanswered, and even unposed, questions, and I would love to make my contribution to the science world in any way that I can."
Sponsor's endorsement: "An amazing young woman, she has a brilliant intellect, an innate curiosity, a genuine love for learning, and an unmatched work ethic."
Neuqua Valley High School
Parents: Pradeep and Shaima Rai
Sponsor: Babs Filkins, counselor
Class rank: 2 out of 1,013
GPA: 4.68 on a 4.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2370
Planned major: Computer science
Awards, honors: First at state, 12th at Nationals in Business Professionals of America Java Programming; First in Midwest in H&R Block Finance Competition, National AP Scholar, National Merit finalist, Illinois State Scholar
Personal statement: "Innovations in technology allow our society to become more efficient and effective, and studying computer science gives me the chance to work with these latest innovations. It's crucial for the work I do to be rewarding not only to myself, but also to others. Simply inventing a clever app or earning a large salary will not be the main incentive in my future; rather, I hope to use my understanding of technology to pursue projects that will benefit the world as a whole."
Sponsor's endorsement: "He is cognitively sound, has strong problem-solving skills, is intrinsically motivated and has a great deal of personal integrity."
Naperville North High School
Parents: Shirley and Dick Riederer
Sponsor: Deborah Libert, counselor
Class rank: School does not rank
GPA: 4.787 on a 4.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2380
Planned major: Finance, mathematics
Awards, honors: National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Award in Writing, National Latin Exam Silver Medal on Latin III Prose, Top Social Studies Student: AP Economics, National Merit finalist, National AP Scholar, Presidential Scholar (nominated), Illinois State Scholar
Personal statement: "My genuine desire to acquire knowledge will continue to spark my intellectual curiosity long after college graduation, once grades and tests are a thing of the past. I feel that this encompassing passion will prove even more valuable to me in the coming years as I pursue both my professional and my personal goals."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Emily Riederer is an extraordinary student who has made wonderful contributions to our school, student body, and community."
Lake Park High School
Parents: Mobin and Nilofer Sohel
Sponsor: Valerie A. McFarlin, counselor
Class rank: 1 out of 657
GPA: 5.6739 on a 5.0 scale (weighted)
Test scores: ACT: 34
Planned major: Chemical engineering and pre-medicine
Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar
Personal statement: "My religion, Islam, has not only instilled the principles of service to humanity and the love for mankind in my heart, but it also gave me a set of ideals by which to live. My faith has opened up a channel in which I can explain my beliefs to my friends and peers who have little knowledge on the matter. Because of such experiences as this, I have learned that individual differences actually have the potential of unifying people under the banner of tolerance and peace."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Throughout his high school career Zamaan has always been in Honors or AP classes. He has been blessed with the ability to find the right balance between academics, school activities, and personal interests."