Spring Valley High School students earn perfect scores on SAT, ACT exams

Several Spring Valley High School students have finished the year with top scores in the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. Nine students earned perfect scores on different sections of the SAT. And one student achieved a perfect score on the ACT.

Gregory Rassolov took the ACT in September and garnered a perfect composite score of 36, a feat the school said less than one-tenth of 1 percent of test takers accomplish. The 16-year-old then went on to take the SAT and earned a perfect score of 800 on the math and writing sections.

Rassolov said his preparation for both exams included taking whole practice tests. He took four practice tests for the SAT and three for the ACT. Rassolov already has looked at several universities for post-secondary study including MIT, University of South Carolina, Stanford, Northwestern University, CalTech and possibly Cornell or Princeton.

“I look up to my teachers — especially my physics, biology, and chemistry teachers — my parents, who led me to love math and science, and … my friends, who set an example for me to follow,” he said.

Rassolov hasn’t quite figured out what he wants to major in, but he knows it has to be in the fields of physics or chemistry. His ultimate goal is to become a university researcher or professor.

Seniors Benjamin Fechter, Jedidiah Gist and Bushram Islam each scored 800 on at least one section of the SAT. Fechter earned his in the critical reading section, Islam scored in the writing section and Gist got a perfect score in the physics SAT subject list.

Gist was thrilled about what the recognition meant for his education after high school.

“I knew it would be a great addition to my upcoming college applications, and it made me very happy to learn that I was adept at the subject that I want to study in college,” he said.

The 16-year-old also has narrowed his list of college choices down to a few — MIT, CalTech, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Georgia Tech and Clemson University.

Scientists Nikola Tesla and Glenn Seaborg are his inspiration, and Gist said he hopes to double major in physics and chemistry. Gist aims to continue his education at the graduate level and then possibly work at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland.

Five seniors — Richard Chen, Guillermo Pineda, James Brewer — scored a perfect 800 on the math sections of the SAT in November. Manushi Patel and Benjamin Fechter scored 800 on the SAT math level two subject test.

The College Board released the average SAT and ACT scores for each state earlier this year. South Carolina netted mean scores of 484 on critical reading, 487 on math and 465 on writing for the SAT, placing the state in the middle of the pack compared to other states. More than 26,000 students took the test in 2013.

Of the 51 percent of test takers who took the ACT in South Carolina, the state got a composite score of 20.4, with mean scores of 19.7 in English, 20.8 in reading and 20.3 in both the math and science sections of the exam.