District 202 seniors Caitlin Yahnke and John Vu may attend different schools, but they are of a like mind when it comes to academic achievement.
Yahnke, of Plainfield South High School, and Vu, of Plainfield North High School, both earned nearly perfect scores on earlier administrations of the ACT college entrance exam, but decided to retake the test rather than settle for their initial results.
Their perseverance paid off, as both earned a perfect 36 on the test.
Both agreed that many, if not most students would be ecstatic to earn a 34 or 35 on the ACT – but not them.
“I’ve always pushed myself to do better, [to] not settle for just doing great,” said Vu, who scored a 35 his first time taking the ACT last winter, and a 34 on last spring’s official state administration. He earned his perfect score on his third attempt in June.
Ironically, falling just shy of perfection the first time actually helped, Vu added.
“Getting a 35 the first time took off the pressure [to get a better score for college], I knew could just do it for my personal benefit,” he said.
Yahnke also got a 35 her first time around last winter, but wanted to take the full ACT including the writing section. “I was really going for it, but I was still a little surprised” by the perfect score, she said.
Both Vu and Yahnke also recognize the value of a taking part in a wide range of activities in school.
Yahnke is on the PSHS Math Team, National Honor Society and Student Council, and is a member of the “Cougar Club” student leadership group, among others.
Vu plays varsity volleyball, is a member of the Math and French teams, and serves on the PNHS Link Crew student leadership group, among other activities.
Likewise, both students continue to challenge themselves academically by taking numerous Advanced Placement courses their senior year.
Yahnke enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy stories and would like to be a professional writer. She hasn’t yet decided whether to major in English or something math-related.
Vu intends to major in biochemistry with an eye on a career in several large-impact fields, including cancer research or global nutrition alternative energy.