2015-2016 Lake County Academic Team

  • The 2015-16 Daily Herald Lake County Academic Team poses at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. Front row, from left: Yash Miriyala, Lakes Community High School; Molly Carmody, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart; Lucy Wu, Vernon Hills High School; Isaiah Liu, Vernon Hills High School. Back row, from left: Hannah Manetsch, Libertyville High School; Bill Wei, Adlai E. Stevenson High School; Katie McGuckin, Lake Zurich High School; Matthew Farejowicz, Lake Zurich High School; Elliot Stahnke, Libertyville High School and Rebecca Nelson, Adlai E. Stevenson High School.

      The 2015-16 Daily Herald Lake County Academic Team poses at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. Front row, from left: Yash Miriyala, Lakes Community High School; Molly Carmody, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart; Lucy Wu, Vernon Hills High School; Isaiah Liu, Vernon Hills High School. Back row, from left: Hannah Manetsch, Libertyville High School; Bill Wei, Adlai E. Stevenson High School; Katie McGuckin, Lake Zurich High School; Matthew Farejowicz, Lake Zurich High School; Elliot Stahnke, Libertyville High School and Rebecca Nelson, Adlai E. Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
Posted5/19/2016 5:18 AM

Molly Carmody
Molly Carmody
Molly Carmody, Woodlands Academy

Hometown: Lake Bluff

Parents: John and Sara Carmody

Sponsor: Principal Madonna Lee Edmunds

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.66 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: Sophomore Class Honor Award (highest average); Junior Class Honor Award (highest average); Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony History Award (University of Rochester)

Personal statement: "My school has endowed me with more than an exceptional high school education. It has given me confidence. At my school, you not only become versed in grammar and the periodic table, but you also become empowered. By looking at myself through the lens of my school, I no longer saw myself as inept. It is in this unique institution that I have realized my potential."

Sponsor's endorsement: "In class she is an active participant and one who often will lead a discussion to greater depth or clarification. She listens carefully to the ideas and opinions of others."

Matthew Farejowicz
Matthew Farejowicz
Matthew Farejowicz, Lake Zurich High School

Hometown: Lake Zurich

Parents: Wladyslaw and Renata Farejowicz

Sponsor: Craig Lehigh, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.17 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2260

Planned major: Computer science

Awards, honors: 14 quarter high honor roll recipient; AP Scholar with Distinction; Moody's Mega Math Challenge Top 174 teams nationally

Personal statement: "In my 12+ years of schooling, I've been determined to distinguish myself with a high degree of quality and character in my work. And it is thanks to that quality and character that I can say my work has paid off, in more ways than one might expect. I aspire to achieve not just for the betterment of myself, but for the betterment of those close to me, and for the betterment of those around me, who I may not even know very well."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Matthew is a senior who has made an impact on the school and his peers. He not only distinguishes himself academically, but he is a difference-maker who gives a lot of himself in many different areas."

Isaiah Liu, Vernon Hills High School
Isaiah Liu, Vernon Hills High School
Isaiah Liu, Vernon Hills High School

Hometown: Vernon Hills

Parents: Haiyang Liu and Qi Fang

Sponsor: Tiffany Heinlein, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.596 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2400

Planned major: Applied mathematics

Awards, honors: Three-time AIME qualifier; Third-place precalculus individual at ICTM state math contest; Presidential Scholar candidate

Personal statement: "By pursuing a degree in applied mathematics, I hope not only to further enhance my knowledge of the discipline but to also turn my passion into something purposeful. The abilities I'll learn and the knowledge I'll gain may someday help ensure a more robust and effective economy, design more efficient and climate-friendly vehicles, or result in a better health care system."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Academically, Isaiah excels at all levels. This year we actually had to sign him up for an online math course through the University of Illinois because he had taken all of our math classes here. However, what is so remarkable is that math is not the only area he excels in, he is also a brilliant writer and a very talented musician and athlete."

Hannah Manetsch
Hannah Manetsch
Hannah Manetsch, Libertyville High School

Hometown: Libertyville

Parents: Scott and Cathy Manetsch

Sponsor: Sarah Kelley, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.539 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2300

Planned major: Physics

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist 2016; Le Concours National de Francais (National French Contest) bronze 2014, silver 2015; member of Algebra II written team 1st in state 2015

Personal statement: "My academic accomplishments have given me a gift for which I could not be more thankful: the gift of learning, the gift of being shaped by information and ideas, of being able to see a situation from another perspective. Learning has allowed me to grow into the person I am."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She has incredible persistence as a student mastering the material and comes to each and every class brilliantly prepared. Hannah is no ordinary student. She is one of the most highly motivated students I have ever worked with. She quietly seeks answers and goes beyond what is expected to reach goals she has set for herself."

Katie McGuckin, Lake Zurich High School
Katie McGuckin, Lake Zurich High School
Katie McGuckin, Lake Zurich High School

Hometown: Hawthorn Woods

Parents: Leslie and Brian McGuckin

Sponsor: Lauren Kasdorf, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.06 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Neuroscience and psychology

Awards, honors: National Merit commended scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction; chosen as one of 100 students selected for Glynn Family Honors Program at the University of Notre Dame

Personal statement: "One of my hopes for my life is to contribute something to this world before I leave it. I would love the chance to take all of the knowledge I have gained and the opportunities I've been given and use them to make a difference."

Sponsor's endorsement: "What really sets Katie apart from every single one of her peers is her social intelligence and ability to make a difference in the lives of so many at such a young age. Her mature approach to any challenge is rare for a high school student and she continues to impress me every day."

Yash Miriyala
Yash Miriyala
Yash Miriyala, Lakes Community High School

Hometown: Lindenhurst

Parents: Joseph Miriyala & Venkata Bongarala

Sponsor: Erin Smith, counselor

Class rank: 1 out of 361

GPA: 4.733 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Computer science

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

Personal statement: "Through my initial struggles in mathematics, I have learned that when you face a challenging problem, you don't give up. Instead, you break the problem up into smaller, more manageable ones which can then be solved. This mindset has helped me maintain an even-keeled approach to life and has taught me not to be intimidated by the size of a problem."

Sponsor's endorsement: "In the classroom, Yash doesn't learn to get the grade -- he learns for the sake of learning. He looks to explore all avenues of a subject to grasp its true nature. He asks insightful and reflective questions, and speaks with sincerity, created by careful thought."

Rebecca Ann Nelson
Rebecca Ann Nelson
Rebecca Ann Nelson, Stevenson High School

Hometown: Lincolnshire

Parents: Howard and Sharon Nelson

Sponsor: Jason Carlson, science teacher

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.8161 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Ecology and evolutionary biology

Awards, honors: Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award; National AP Scholar/AP Scholar with Distinction; Scholastic Art and Writing Awards National Gold Medalist

Personal statement: "Ultimately, my academic accomplishments in both school and extracurricular activities reflect my life goal of using both my work as an ecological researcher and nature writer to advocate for sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems such as habitat destruction and anthropogenic global warming."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Her primary desire is to become a research biologist, but she is also currently editing her first mystery novel. Becca is a student who is driven with the heart of a scientist but maintains the soul of an artist."

Elliot Stahnke
Elliot Stahnke
Elliot Stahnke, Libertyville High School

Hometown: Libertyville

Parents: Robert Stahnke & Mei Mei Chin

Sponsor: John Mortillaro, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.685 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2190

Planned major: Applied mathematics

Awards, honors: National Merit finalist; John Benson award; 1st in state in geometry

Personal statement: "As I guided them through math problems the same way that my dad had once guided me, I discovered that I loved teaching others about math. I thought it was amazing how people would come up to me and ask me to spread knowledge about a subject that I loved so much; guiding them toward that moment of realization and seeing their faces light up with understanding was a reward that never got old."

Sponsor's endorsement: "A young man of high integrity and academic prowess, Elliot's greatest strength is his intuition. He is able to grasp challenging concepts very quickly, and when it comes to problem solving, he feels extremely comfortable taking the lead and helping others around him understand as well."

Bill Wei
Bill Wei
Bill Wei, Stevenson High School

Hometown: Buffalo Grove

Parents: Joanne Gu and Dong Wei

Sponsor: William Fritz, debate coach

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.8046 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Economics

Awards, honors: National Tournament of Champions Congressional Debate Finalist; Business Professionals of America Fundamental Accounting Nationals Fourth Place; BPA Financial Analyst Team State Champion

Personal statement: "The significance of academic achievement does not lie in the recognition and accolades. Those are simply a byproduct of the work I have put into furthering my own intellectual development."

Sponsor's endorsement: "The true mark of an excellent competitor is not only the trophies the student has won, but by the team that is left behind when the student graduates. Based on this criteria, Bill is not only a powerhouse debater, but he is a valuable asset to the school's debate program."

Lucy Wu, Vernon Hills High School
Lucy Wu, Vernon Hills High School
Lucy Wu, Vernon Hills High School

Hometown: Vernon Hills

Parents: Warren Wu and Lynne Li

Sponsor: Becki Bellito, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.584 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: Sugarman Award of Academic Achievement; IHSA All-Academic Team nominee; National Merit Finalist

Personal statement: "My experiences in WYSE and NIH were the impetus behind my decision to pursue biomedical engineering. This career is satisfying because it combines my interest in the biomedical field with my desire to develop cures."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Simply stated, she is one of the most upbeat, optimistic, and humble students with whom I have worked. Her drive for excellence in academics is not based solely on the grade earned; she also aspires to promote thoughtful, intellectual discussion in all of her classes. For this reason, she has earned the admiration of both her teachers and peers."

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