STILWELL, Kan. -- Students in the Blue Valley School District are setting the pace in the Kansas City region in the ACT and SAT exams that show readiness for college. The 2012 graduates had the highest composite scores in both tests among all metro area school districts. And this week's FOX 4 Young Achiever is doing his part to make sure that happens again -- getting 36 on the ACT -- a perfect score.
As he wrestles with titration in a lab for Advanced Placement Biology class, Jason Entgelmeier says he's not planning to go into any of the natural sciences as a career or even major in any them in college. But Jason sure understands them well. He must in order for him to get a perfect score of 36 on the ACT exam he took this past spring. And the Blue Valley High School senior came within a few points of acing the SAT exam, as well.
"It was definitely cool to get," says Jason. "In the end, though, to me it's just a test. It's just like a means to an end." A means to helping him get into a top university, like Northwestern or Harvard or MIT. And how did he do it?
"I took a lot of practice tests," says Jason. "I prepared for them. I think I'm naturally smart but I still have to work. I can't just look at something and immediately understand and remember it all. I do get things quicker and sometimes easier than other students but I also work hard to make sure that I will do well in whatever I'm doing." With his ACT and SAT scores in stratosphere it shouldn't be a surprise that academics are huge in Jason's life. But he is extremely well-rounded. Jason's a talented athlete, too, and a very involved student leader at Blue Valley High, as Student Council VP, National Honor Society president and a Tiger Mentor advising freshman on how to successfully navigate high school life.
"Part of it is not any reward," says Jason, "not anything I'm striving for. It's almost, I just can't accept anything less than my best."
"It's not really for the recognition," says Jason's AP Biology teacher Azadeh Taghizadeh who also taught him when Jason was a freshman. "He doesn't like to be recognized and he shies away from the kind of recognition. I think he does it because that's all he knows. He himself won't accept anything less than perfect." Jason is pretty modest and laid back about all of his big accomplishments, especially that perfect ACT score. But his unassuming attitude masks a burning ambition to do something great with his life.
"I don't have to be famous or anything like that, but as long as I feel satisfied with whatever I'm doing," says Jason.
"I think with Jason, he truly is challenged by certain things and I think one is for him to make a difference," says Taghizadeh. Jason's making difference as co-chair of what's become one of the most successful youth-driven Relay for Life fundraising events for the American Cancer Society in the U.S. He's leading the large student group that's already planning next spring's event with students at Blue Valley West High School and Blue Valley Southwest High School.
"Whenever I'm old and lived out most of my life," says Jason, "I want to look back and be content with what I did and not feel like I wasted anything. So, I guess, no regrets." He may or may not be famous one day but almost certainly Jason Entgelmeier will be significant.
The 2012 Relay for Life event this past March for which Jason was a team leader raised nearly $100,000 for the American Cancer Society, half of it generated by Jason and his peers at Blue Valley High.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 5 p.m.