ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) -- Two of the smartest high schoolers in the entire state of Virginia are seniors at Thomas Jefferson High in Alexandria.
Katherine Ho and Mayank Mahajan have taken advanced placement, or AP classes, and passed rigorous, comprehensive exams. A perfect 5 out of 5 earns them college credit at many universities. Mayank has gotten a perfect score on 10 of these classes. Katherine got a perfect score on 9 of them. These scores make them top achievers nationwide, and the very best of the best here in Virginia.
They each won a $2,000 prize from the Siemens Foundation for this amazing accomplishment. Katherine says, "It kind of validates all the hard work you've put in during the year, and it's really rewarding to have that sort of validation."
The AP course lineup reads like the transcript for an engineering major... Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, Calculus, Spanish, History, Environmental Science, Statistics.
Mayank and Katherine both know they want to pursue careers in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) when they graduate. Going to Thomas Jefferson High, which has a STEM-focused curriculum, has given them a big head start in their career path.
Katherine says, "The atmosphere here is very encouraging and everyone's very driven. And that sort of gives you a push when you need it." Mayank adds, "I'm hoping to carry that passion and interest [with me] and pursue harder classes that interest me, and I won't back down from those challenges."