Six Wasilla High School students get top scores on PSAT

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2001

WASILLA (AP) -- Seventeen-year-old Will Elliott isn't sure what he wants to be -- maybe a rock star. He's already scored a big hit.

Elliott is one of six Wasilla High School students recognized as top scorers in the nation on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The PSAT measures reading, writing and math skills and is taken annually by more than 1 million high school juniors across the country. Only the top 50,000, or about 4 percent, make the high-scoring list.

To have six students on that list set a record at Wasilla High, and these were the only students in the Mat-Su Borough School District so honored this year, school officials said.

''It's phenomenal. I've never heard of anything like it (in the district),'' said Dewayne Joehnk, who heads the gifted program at the high school. ''It's a pretty special group of kids.''

In addition to Elliott, the other students who received top scores are Sarah Slauson, William Burton, Erin Simpson, Patrick Boyle and Marissa Hamrick.

Most had prepped by taking the test last year as sophomores. All are enrolled in honors classes at Wasilla High and have taken advanced placement classes in biology and other subjects that qualify them for college credits, Joehnk said.

Statewide, 82 students were honored as high scorers on the PSAT last year, according to Gloria Ladendorf, a spokeswoman for the National Merit Scholarship Corp., which tracks test scores. This year's total is not available yet.

In addition to receiving commendations for their work, the students' scores qualify them for potential college scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship program.

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