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WE CONGRATULATE: An exponential mathematics star

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Sam Saarinen has done a great job of representing students from Shelby County.

We can’t imagine a student having a better senior year than Sam Saarinen. Certainly, he is making Shelby County look very good in the educational world.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with Sam, a student at the Gatton Academy of Mathematics in Bowling Green, let us tell you just what he has accomplished.

First, he made a perfect score on the American College Test, something only a few hundred students do each year.

Next, he is a finalist for a National Merit Scholarship, which puts him among a few thousand but certainly an elite, to be sure.

We had to smile when Sam said the ACT was the greater accomplishment, because so many fewer did it. The mathematician had studied the ratios, it would seem.

Sam had all of that in perspective, and that’s what we think is the richest point of his story.

He understands clearly what his accomplishments mean – even if he wins a National Merit, he probably can’t use it at most of the schools he is considering, he said – and he understand what it took to get there.

Sam’s family likely won’t have to worry about tuition no matter where he may choose to matriculate. Almost any school of mathematics or technical development – two areas he said that interest him – would be willing to let him attend free of charge.

That’s a real bonus for any family in this era of steeply rising educational costs, but, then, we would assume Sam has calculated that amount and growth rate as well.

For when it comes to shining educational achievement, his accomplishments are starting to add up.