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Seniors Recognized for Academic Excellence
January 30th, 2017


Seniors recognized for academic excellence: Emily Pearson & Jacob Ressler named valedictorian, salutatorian
Written by: Golden Lines Staff Writer Matthew Francis ‘17

The gym filled with applause after the last all-school Mass in January when Dean of Academics Mr. John Griffith announced Emily Pearson as the Valedictorian and Jacob Ressler as both the Salutatorian and STAR Student for the Class of 2017

Pearson, who plans on attending the University of Georgia, the University of Virginia or the University of Texas, has taken a total of 10 AP classes during her four years at St. Pius X.

While she acknowledged that all of her AP courses were difficult, one in particular stood out as being the toughest.

“Without a doubt, the most challenging class I’ve encountered at Pius is AP United States History,” Pearson said.

“It’s your typical junior year class: a constant stream of homework along with plenty of quizzes and projects, not to mention the infamous research paper. I’m lucky to have had two awesome teachers, Mr. Voorhees and Ms. Kramer, who both have so much enthusiasm for history that they make the class as interesting and engaging as it is challenging,” she continued.

Despite her demanding course load, Pearson said she “only” spends around two hours a day on homework.

“I try hard to minimize the amount of work I have to do at home by getting as much of it done as I can during the school day and in the mornings before the bell rings,” she explained.

Pearson is also a Lion Leader, and she has been part of NHS the past three years. She also played on the volleyball team as a freshman and sophomore, and was a member of the softball program her junior and senior year. She plans on majoring in biology and is interested in becoming a doctor.

“During the softball season, I settled into a routine of going to bed early, absolutely exhausted, and then waking up early to get my work done,” Pearson said as she explained how she juggled her workload.

Her biggest piece of academic advice to underclassmen is, “don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for extra help! If they didn’t enjoy helping students learn, they probably would not have chosen a career in education”

Ressler, the Salutatorian and STAR Student, has taken 12 AP courses throughout his time at St. Pius, and said he spends roughly an average of an hour and a half on studying and homework each night.

Ressler, who plans on attending Caltech and pursuing a degree in molecular biology and physics or applied math, agreed with Pearson that AP US History was the most challenging course he ever took in high school.

“While the material and workload is extremely intense, the class boasts some of the most supportive and well-read teachers in the school,” Ressler said.

In addition to being a Lion Leader and an NHS member, Ressler has also run cross country and track since his freshman year.

“While cross country and track are time consuming, the sport honestly aids my efficiency,” he said. “After running, I can finally focus, and the accompanying exhaustion prevents me from doing anything too interesting. I do tend to emphasize sleep and training a lot more during the season, and as a result, I probably do more work during the day.”

Ressler helped his cross country team win their third state championship in four years. He finished third for the team and eighth overall with a time of 16:49 at the state meet in November.

He also holds the eighth fastest time in the history of the cross country program, which he set this season with a time of 15:59.

In addition to being the Salutatorian, Ressler was also named the STAR Student, which is awarded to the senior with the highest SAT score. He selected his AP US History teacher Ms. Kristin Kramer as his STAR Teacher for having made the most significant contribution to his academic development.

“Ms. Kramer teaches with the knowledge of an expert and the enthusiasm of a kid,” Ressler said when explaining why he chose Ms. Kramer. “She makes history matter, and she makes everyone in her class realize the importance of the last 250 years. She's so smart and so well-versed but also so genuine. All in all, she's the best teacher I've ever had (and I've been graced with many great ones).”

Both Ressler and Ms. Kramer and will be recognized at the Atlanta STAR Banquet in April.

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