September 2, 2010 in Washington Voices

U-Hi student alone in state with perfect SAT score

16-year-old achieves 2,400 on test
By The Spokesman-Review
 
J. BART RAYNIAK photo

University High School senior Caitlin Hess, 16, has earned a score of 2,400 on the SAT.
(Full-size photo)

Last school year, 37,631 high school students took the SAT in Washington state, according to a College Board spokesperson. Of those students, 274 earned a perfect score of 800 in reading, 194 were perfect in math and 155 were perfect in writing.

But the number of students receiving a perfect 2,400 score in all three disciplines is considerably smaller. There was only one: Caitlin Hess, 16, who will be a senior at University High School this fall.

She said about six months before the test, she signed up for the SAT question of the day. She also bought a book to prepare her for it and promptly forgot about it.

“I am a terrible procrastinator,” she said.

She said she didn’t study at all until the day before the test. While she was taking it, she didn’t feel all that confident about her work.

“I thought, ‘I should really reschedule this,’ ” Hess said.

But when the test scores were announced, she realized she didn’t have to do that. She scored a 2,400.

She immediately wanted to let her parents, Richard and Janet Hess, know about her accomplishment.

“They were so happy when I called them,” she said.

Although she said she didn’t study that much before the test, Sherry Clark, vice principal of curriculum at U-Hi, said Hess is being modest.

“I have a feeling she’s been preparing for that test her whole life,” Clark said.

Clark said Hess is a focused and self-deprecating student.

“She’s obviously a very bright lady,” Clark said. “She likes to challenge herself.”

Clark said that Hess has taken almost every AP class the school offers and Hess said her grade-point average is about 3.95.

Hess said some of the teachers that inspire her include her AP English teacher Abbie Lentz. “I love to write,” Hess said. She said Lentz is a wonderful and vibrant teacher who makes the class interesting.

She is also inspired by her AP calculus teacher Mike Conklin. “He’s so funny,” Hess said. “He makes it come alive.”

She also credited her AP U.S. history teacher Paul Schneider. “Everyone thinks he is an amazing teacher,” Hess said.

When she’s not busy with her classes, Hess said she’s involved on the school’s debate team; writes for the Mercury, the school’s newspaper; and is involved in the honor society. She also reads and plays the piano.

“I just enjoy being a teenager,” she said. Her high school years seem to have gone by fast for her. She said it seems like just yesterday she was a freshman.

After graduation, Hess hopes to attend the University of Washington or Reed College in Portland. She hopes to do something involving writing after college.

Getting a perfect score on the SAT is something to be proud of, but Hess said she doesn’t think she’ll mention it much after high school.

“It’s something to say,” she said, but she doesn’t think the future career success will have anything to do with her score. As for getting into college, she said she thinks colleges consider 2,300 and above a very good score.

“I’ll be in that group.”


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