Lake County Academic Team, 2017-2018

Lyndsey Bassett, Grayslake Central High School

Hometown: Hainesville

Parents: Mary and Chris Bassett

Sponsor: Adrijana Bisevac, AP U.S. History Teacher

GPA: 4.602 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 32; SAT: 1400

Planned major: Biomedical sciences

Awards, honors: VFW Voice of Democracy Essay Winner (2017); Good Shepherd Hospital Future Healthcare Professionals Program Certificate of Distinction (2017); National Honor Society

Personal statement: "Although I was able to transform my illness into a powerful motivator to work hard to succeed, I am aware there are others who do not have the physical health or emotional support to do the same. This realization influenced my decision to pursue a biomedical sciences degree, with the intent of becoming a physician's assistant, so I am able to help others who are struggling with medical issues."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is a true intellect who has a keen sense of scholarship and the skills necessary to excel in whatever endeavors she chooses to pursue. More importantly, she genuinely cares about making a difference and positively impacting the world around her."

Shirley Cao, Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Shirley Cao, Stevenson High School

Hometown: Buffalo Grove

Parents: Minling Qiu and Zhengsong Cao

Sponsor: Denise Foster, AP English Teacher

GPA: 4.82 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: SAT: 1570

Planned major: Mechanical engineering and computer science

Awards, honors: ABRSM Piano Grade 8 Passed with Distinction; National Merit Finalist; National AP Scholar

Personal statement: "During my junior year, I became drawn to engineering, particularly to mechanics. At first, a part of me doubted that I could pursue such a career - perhaps I didn't think I had the capability to keep up with the work or continue my passion for it. However, after taking classes like Calculus 3 and Linear Algebra and competing in Vex Robotics challenges, I learned to embrace my fears of failure and simply try."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I can't gush enough about Shirley. Shirley has given to our school, the student body, and the area community in numerous ways. Shirley reflects the kind of integrity and work ethic that will shepherd this next generation to a finer existence."

Grace Kinsey, Lake Zurich High School

Grace Kinsey, Lake Zurich High School

Hometown: Hawthorn Woods

Parents: Jeff and Heather Kinsey

Sponsor: Laura Beata, school counselor

GPA: 5.25 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 1550

Planned major: Economics

Awards, honors: FBLA State First Place in Organizational Leadership, 2017; FBLA State Third Place in Economics, 2018; FBLA State Fifth Place Introduction to Communications, 2016

Personal statement: "As much as I try to deny it, I'm a deeply competitive person. During high school, Future Business Leaders of America provided an outlet for my competitive nature and a way to explore business topics more thoroughly. Through FBLA, I have increased my knowledge of business principles that I can apply to the real world after graduation to help me achieve my goal of someday owning my own business."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Grace has a very calm demeanor, and I would describe her as a 'quiet leader.' She serves in a variety of leadership roles, and is well respected by her peers and staff alike. She does not back down from a challenge and she is a great problem solver."

Kathleen Lund, Libertyville High School

Kathleen Lund, Libertyville High School

Hometown: Libertyville

Parents: Michael and Jennifer Lund

Sponsor: Amy Belstra, college counselor

GPA: 4.591 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 1590

Planned major: Computer science

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; 2018 National Honorable Mention of the National Center for Women & Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing; Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award (junior science student of the year)

Personal statement: "It was an eighth-grade HTML course that piqued my interest in computer science - a simple 'about me' website comprised of less than a hundred total lines of code set the route for my future. Following the creation of my website, I went on to take two computer science classes in high school, where I learned logical foundations and Java. In these lectures, the foggy concept of computer science morphed into an understanding and then a passion."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She finds ways to give back, and one of the most notable is 'The Noteables,' a string ensemble she formed that performs at local retirement communities."

Anmol Parande, Vernon Hills High School

Anmol Parande, Vernon Hills High School

Hometown: Vernon Hills

Parents: Rajendra Parande and Sangita Parande

Sponsor: DeAnn Firnbach, counselor

GPA: 4.681 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1570

Planned major: Electrical engineering and computer science

Awards, honors: Congressional App Challenge Winner of Illinois District 10; Finalist in Illinois State History Fair; Future Business Leaders of America (10th place at national competition, three First Place finishes at state competition)

Personal statement: "I began my foray into entrepreneurship when I found myself learning iOS mobile application development in sixth grade. I have since released four applications to the Apple app store and built several websites. My most recent iPhone app, GoGreen, helps households monitor their energy consumption."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I think most teachers would happily teach for nothing if all students were like Anmol. He is a gem. He welcomes people, conversation, and pushes his classmates to do more, all the while encouraging them when they struggle."

Valerie Pokorny, Antioch Community High School

Valerie Pokorny, Antioch Community High School

Hometown: Antioch

Parents: Nicolas and Madeleine Pokorny

Sponsor: Robert Schrader, teacher

GPA: 4.667 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: SAT: 1310

Planned major: Environmental science

Awards, honors: State Seal of Biliteracy/German; Illinois State Scholar; "You Make a Difference" Award for Academic Excellence, May 2015, April 2015, and March 2016

Personal statement: "My academic accomplishments stem from my seeming innate drive to exceed in my education. From the very beginning, I had a sort of impulse to try my best, and it would be impossible to shut off. Imagine my parents' amusement when I needed to try everything myself and know the answer to every question I had immediately. I learned throughout my school years that this is just the way I am, the way my mind works."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Valerie is the kind of person that comes around maybe once in a decade or longer. Over the past eight years, Valerie has lived in five different cities in three different countries. She is bilingual, German being her native tongue, and also speaks flawless English."

Suraj Rajendran, Libertyville High School

Suraj Rajendran, Libertyville High School

Hometown: Lake Bluff

Parents: Silja & Anidil Rajendran

Sponsor: John Mortillaro, counselor

GPA: 4.65 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 1590

Planned major: Biomedical engineering, Minors: Computing and intelligence, computational data analysis

Awards, honors: National Merit Scholar; Emperor Science Award Winner; Illinois Science Teacher Association Award

Personal statement: "Every moment we are the setting for a perpetual war. A war in which the fate of our health and well-being are at stake. A war where good can turn evil and evil can be good. A war where the smallest of actions could result in horrible consequences. I'm talking, of course, about the battle that our immune system wages with foreign elements that have intruded our body."

Sponsor's endorsement: "What I find to be most endearing about Suraj is his maturity and detailed planning. When we discuss his future, our conversations are information rich and have just about every conceivable option put out on the table. I wonder sometimes if he puts way too much on his plate, but every time I think that, he manages to complete the task at hand in very impressive fashion."

Rafael Torres, Grant Community High School

Rafael Torres, Grant Community High School

Hometown: Ingleside

Parents: Luis Torres, Maricruz Torres

Sponsor: Angela Balanag, AP English teacher

GPA: 5.251 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 31; SAT: 1370

Planned major: Biology, pre-med track

Awards, honors: Scholar's List (top 10) all four years; All Conference NLCC Student Athlete Academic Team; February Student of the Month

Personal statement: "Science fascinates me. I can sit for hours reading information about chemistry, biology, and physics. It seems natural to pursue a career in such a field. I want to be a physician's assistant, or PA, specifically. A physician's assistant can prescribe medication, recommend specialists, and do anything a doctor can except own a private practice."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Rafa joined my AP English Language and Composition course in August 2016 and added a knowledgeable, political dimension to the class discussion. Rafa welcomes intelligent debate with his peers and teachers, conducts himself with poise, and entertains in the process, for he is as charismatic as he is intelligent."

Coral Wang, Carmel Catholic High School

Coral Wang, Carmel Catholic High School

Hometown: Lake Villa

Sponsor: John Titterton, AP calculus teacher

GPA: 4.53 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Biological/biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; two-time NSML State Math Team qualifier in Individual, Oral, Calculator, and Relay competitions; two-time first place team Mundelein Mayor's Math Contest

Personal statement: "Through applying an extensive knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics, bioengineers can manipulate biological and chemical systems to solve many different problems. I hope that I can help create inventive solutions for global health issues and make new breakthroughs in oncology through the synthesis of my knowledge of biology with the analytical processes of engineering."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Coral is a superb student. In Algebra II Honors, she worked hard and aced every assignment. In Summer Geometry, Coral provided more of the same, again acing the class while also helping her fellow students."

Daniel Wieczorek, Lakes Community High School

Daniel Wieczorek, Lakes Community High School

Hometown: Lake Villa

Parents: Gary and Sylvia Wieczorek

Sponsor: Tyler Reimer, school counselor

GPA: 4.6 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34; SAT: 1530

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: AP Scholar with Honor Award; National Hispanic Recognition Program; High Academic Achievement Awards

Personal statement: "My grandfather fell to Alzheimer's disease when I was only 6 years old. Visiting him in the hospital as he deteriorated made me feel helpless, so I innocently started researching how to become a doctor in an attempt to cure him. This was how my enthusiasm for medicine emerged, and it continued to flourish as I matured."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Daniel often listens to others' ideas and thoughts before speaking; he is always taking in information to make the best decision. He makes classes better because he is able to listen and create a unique viewpoint. It is not all books and sports with Daniel. He has spent many hours volunteering with Bernie's Book Bank, Lake County Cares and Feed My Starving Children."

Lake County Academic Team honorable mentions

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