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Rock Bridge senior hits trifecta on college entrance exams

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 | 9:59 p.m. CST; updated 11:32 p.m. CST, Tuesday, November 8, 2011

COLUMBIA — Christina Wang is a Rock Bridge High School senior, a cheerleader, a drum major for the marching band and a flute player in the school's wind ensemble.

Christina earned perfect scores on all three college entrance exams — the PSAT, SAT and the ACT. She aced the ACT on her first try.

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Christina, 17, accomplished a perfect test-score trifecta: 240 on the PSAT, 2400 on the SAT and 36 on the ACT. Additionally, she has been named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.

The odds of getting a perfect score on the SAT are one in 5,152, the Detroit News reported in a 2009 story about Willa Chen, a Canton, Mich., student who also got three perfect scores. 

Just one in 1,000 achieved a perfect score on the PSAT that year, according to the newspaper, citing figures from the College Board, which administers the exams.

Last year, 1.6 million people took the ACT test, and 704 achieved a composite score of 36 — one in 2,272, according to the ACT Inc. statistics department.

Christina, known as Tina, said she is applying to a number of different schools for a degree in business or medicine.

"Stanford used to be my first choice," she said. "I don’t really know if I have a first choice now."

Her teachers call her a high achiever, goal-oriented and multi-talented. 

"I might see her in (my room) listening to music with friends and laughing," Kathryn Fishman-Weaver said. "But she always has a big AP book nearby for when the joke is over."

Another one of Christina’s teachers, Marilyn Toalson, described her as a strong student, who is also involved and outgoing.

"She’s very determined to follow her own path," Toalson said. "But she’s also friendly, and people like her. She doesn’t just stick to cheerleaders or really smart kids."

Close friend Amy Scott, also a senior at Rock Bridge, said she met Christina in the sixth grade. Since then, they have taken the majority of their classes together — many of them have been honors and AP classes. Christina is taking five AP classes and AP French lessons.

"People know (about Tina’s scores), and they admire her for it," Amy said. "They’re like, 'She’s Tina, obviously she got a perfect score.'"

She is "bubbly and energetic most of the time," Amy said. She has friends from many social circles since she participates in a wide range of activities at Rock Bridge.

She also is logging laboratory hours with the MU School of Medicine.

Christina said both of her parents work for the university, and despite busy schedules, encourage her and her younger brother to do well in school.

She described a typical Saturday: Doing homework, working on college application essays, exercising, practicing her flute and going on a walk with her family. 

She said she is very grateful for her time in band at Rock Bridge. She has played the flute and served as a drum major and member of the color guard.

"I have a set of friends in band that I feel closer to because we’ve been through so much and we create a show together every year," she said.

Toalson anticipates that Christina's biggest issue in college will be deciding what she wants to do, since she is talented in so many areas.

"Excellence breeds excellence," said Toalson. "It’s kids like Christina that make it cool to be smart."


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