Second Mountain View High student earns SAT perfection

Waverley He's feat comes just months after classmates

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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EinsteinWise

SAT

Math SAT question

A special lottery is to be held to select the student who will live in the only deluxe room in a dormitory. There are 100 seniors, 150 juniors and 200 sophomores who applied. Each senior’s name is placed in the lottery 3 times; each junior’s name, 2 times; and each sophomore’s name, 1 time. What is the probability that a senior’s name will be chosen?

Answer Choices

A. 1/8

B. 2/9

C. 2/7

D. 3/8

E. 1/2

Answer: D. 3/8

Lightning may not strike twice in the same place, but an almost-as-rare phenomenon has occurred at Mountain View High School. Two students have scored a perfect 2400 on their Scholastic Aptitude Tests, just months apart.

Rohith Nagari scored 2400 on his SATs last February. In October, Waverley He, a 16-year-old junior, scored a 2400 on her SATs. The students are teammates on the school's Science Bowl team.

"I was inspired by Rohi," Waverley said. "You don't think you can get a perfect score until you see someone do it."

Nationally, more than 1.6 million students took the SAT in the class of 2012. Of those, only 360 earned a score of 2400, according to the College Board, which issues the test frequently used by college admissions offices.

It was through focused dedication and hard work that Waverley earned that perfect score. In her freshman and sophomore years, she practiced by taking the PSAT, the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. She spent a couple of hours each day last summer answering practice questions on the SAT website. After taking a 10-hour summer class focused on writing the SAT essay at Einsteinwise Brain Training Center, she then wrote 15 practice essays over the summer. That focus paid off. She got a top score on her essay.

"It was not fun," Waverley said, "but I guess it was worth it."

Science teacher Alison Nightingale coaches Waverley on the school's Science Bowl team, which took first place at the regional competition and eighth place at nationals in its division last spring.

"In my 22 years of teaching, I've had only seven or eight students like Waverley," Nightingale said. "She's dedicated, well-rounded, involved. Students like Waverley have a holistic approach to life. They're on a whole different playing field than the typical really great student."

Even though she's loaded her schedule with Advanced Placement classes including Mandarin Chinese, her grade point average is a perfect 4.0. In addition to being a member of the elite Science Bowl team, she also is the vice president of Key Club, treasurer of the National Honor Society, and a member of the math club, Science Olympiad and the American Red Cross Youth Council -- and she earned a varsity letter on the swim team.

An accomplished pianist, she performed at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland as a semi-finalist in the Ten Grands competition in her freshman year. She also has played violin in the school orchestra. On Sundays, she volunteers in the birth center at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, taking photos of babies and interacting with parents.

Waverley does normal teenager things: hangs out with her friends, shops at Forever 21, watches her favorite movie, "500 Days of Summer," listens to Z100 on the radio, reads the Hunger Games novels and bakes red velvet cupcakes.

After graduation, she plans to become a doctor, following in her parents' and brother's footsteps.

"Harvard is definitely a possibility," she said. "Dad is all for me going to Harvard, but Mom says I should go to Stanford. It's closer to home."

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://www.twitter.com/col_schools;susan.parrish@columbian.com.