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Sixth-grader gets perfect SAT math score

June 12, 2012
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From Daily Herald:

By Steve Zalusky

The phrase “nobody’s perfect” is not perfectly accurate.

Bowlers have been known to roll a perfect game. And White Sox fans experienced the perfect game of Phil Humber this year.

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Perfection is definitely attainable. But it is rare.

Consider the feat of Joshua Yoon, who attained a perfect score of 800 on the mathematics portion of the SAT college admission exam.

How rare is this? Well, according to the website talk.collegeconfidential.com, about 10,000 college-bound seniors attained that score in 2009.

Joshua is only a sixth-grader.

Joshua, who lives in Buffalo Grove and is a student at Twin Groves Middle School, was honored for his perfect score last week by Kildeer Countryside District 96 school board.

His family, neighborhood friends, teachers and Twin Groves Principal Heather Friziellie joined the board and Superintendent Julie Schmidt in celebrating the achievement. At the board meeting, Joshua accepted a plaque and congratulations from Board President Marc Tepper.

Sixth grade is early to take the SAT. Joshua qualified by virtue of his score on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test and took the exam along with college-bound high school students Feb. 4 at Stevenson High School.

The results certainly bode well for his future.

“I kind of want to be a doctor like my dad,” foot and ankle specialist Hong Yoon, he said.

Joshua, a straight-A student, said he “kind of” expected the score. He studied for the test by “looking at a math book.”

When asked how he did on the other parts of the test, he said, “OK.”

Not surprisingly, he said math is his favorite subject, although he can’t pinpoint exactly when his enthusiasm began.

Teachers noticed too, said his mother, Seojin, and would often give him advanced work. As a student at Ivy Hall Elementary School, Joshua was given sixth-grade honors math work.

“We were in fifth grade, and when they were teaching math, we went outside to the hallway and we separately did sixth-grade math,” he said.

“I think that was very good for him,” his mother said. “That is why he is quite advanced, I think.”

His teachers still give him advanced work. Officially, Joshua is in the seventh-grade math class, but he is doing eighth-grade work.

Math is far from being his only interest, however. Joshua said he likes science and social studies, just not as much as math. He has diverse extracurricular interests as well. He plays piano — among the pieces he likes to play are Beethoven sonatas — as well as violin, performing the instrument in the Twin Groves orchestra.

He’s also a Boy Scout and is involved in sports, playing both baseball and basketball.

“I’m usually put as a forward or center, but I prefer point guard,” said Joshua, who roots for the Bulls and Lakers in basketball. As for baseball, he likes to play first base and shortstop and roots for the Yankees and White Sox.

Yoon said he has received feedback from friends and teachers on his accomplishment, but overall, he said, his life has remained unchanged.

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