Western New York's biggest school districts tend to pay the …
Updated: Monday, 01 Jun 2009, 4:10 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 01 Jun 2009, 4:10 AM EDT
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - They're truly the best and brightest graduates of Western New York's high schools this year.
Their report cards are virtually flawless. Their schedules are crammed with university-level courses. Their scores on Regents and College Board exams are perfect or nearly so. Their so-called free time is replete with school and community activities.
They're the 100 members of Business First's 2009 All-Western New York Academic Team.
High schools throughout the eight-county region were invited to
nominate their smartest and most skilled seniors for evaluation by
a 10-member committee. A total of 388 students were submitted by
(Nominations were limited to four per school.)
The First Team consists of the 25 seniors who, in the committee's opinion, have the strongest records of academic excellence, school leadership and community involvement. Twenty-five runners-up constitute the Second Team, and the remaining 50 hold Special Mention designations.
Full details will be available in Business First's 2009-10 Guide to Western New York Schools, which hits newsstands Friday. Highlights are also available at the newspaper's website: buffalo.bizjournals.com.
The Academic Team's talent is made evident by a quick roundup of
Class rank: Fifty of the 100 members are valedictorians. The other 50 all rank in the top 4 percent of their graduating classes.
Courseload: The typical honoree tackled seven college-level courses while in high school. Twenty-nine winners took nine or more.
Regents scores: High school students in New York must pass five Regents tests to earn a diploma. The passing grade is 65. The 100 Academic Team members did considerably better, posting an average score of 96.5.
College Board scores: The 25 seniors on the First Team have a median SAT score of 1,520, which ranks among the highest 1 percent of all College Board scores nationwide. The Second Team is close behind with a median of 1,500 points (out of a possible 1,600).
Awards: Twenty Academic Team members, including 15 First Teamers, hold the coveted title of National Merit Scholarship finalist. About 15,000 finalists are chosen nationally from a pool of 1.4 million seniors.
Leadership: Included among the 100 honorees are 12 class presidents, 17 editors of school newspapers or yearbooks, 30 members of all-county or all-state bands or choruses, 40 captains of sports teams, and 44 presidents of student clubs and organizations.
This year's Academic Team is made up of seniors from 71 different high schools. Six schools are represented by three students each: City Honors, Clarence, Nardin, Nichols, Orchard Park and Williamsville North. Another 17 schools have two honorees each.
Selections were made by a panel of 10 college admissions directors, community leaders and editors:
Donna Collins, senior editor, Business First
Christopher Dearth, admissions director, Fredonia State College
Lesa Loritts, admissions director, Buffalo State College
M. Rogan Morton, partner, Schroder, Joseph & Associates LLP
Ann Marie Moscovic, admissions director, Canisius College
Tim O'Shei, managing editor, Business First
Jeffrey Ross, executive director, InfoTech Niagara
Kathy Saunders, admissions director, Niagara County Community College
Lisa Scherer, president, Junior Achievement of Western New York
Jeff Wright, editor, Business First
Committee members cast their votes after reviewing summaries of each student's official transcript, College Board and Regents test scores, awards and activities. The selection process was blind, with each senior identified solely by a number. Nominees' names and schools were removed from all forms.