APPLE VALLEY, Minn. -- If you're talking to a high school student with a GPA of just less than a 4.0, they always remember when they lost their shot at perfection, trust me.
Says Eastview senior Zach Tollefson, "It was my freshman year, in 2nd quarter English, I think. And, I believe it was on the Romeo and Juliet test."
OK, so maybe Zach losing the 4.0 was not quite as tragic as Romeo and Juliet. Consider that in a class of 520, Zach ranks 5th, with an unweighted GPA of 3.9. Not to say that it came easy.
"I had to make sure I stayed organized all the time", says Zach. "But, as a result of my hard work I think it's starting to get a bit easier to organize things and try to get things done on time. It's still a lot of work, every day. I wouldn't say it comes easy to anyone to do this."
When Zach says, "To do this", he's referring to his body of work that includes membership in the National and Spanish Honor Societies, and his being a Commended Merit Scholar. But, when talking about his many accomplishments, Zach gives credit to the staff at Eastview who helped him make it happen.
"This school is amazing", says Zach. "There are so many opportunities to participate in, whether it's sports or classes, the teachers will always help you do your best."
A 3-year member of the school's debate team, Zach is a captain in the sports of cross-country, swimming and track, where he admits, he's not the loudest guy on the team.
"I think it's a fun experience to be in that kind of position with all of the other guys", says Zach. "I don't really set myself apart from them, but, I just try to do as much as I can with them and lead by example."
Zach also says it's not a coincidence that the same traits that have helped him make the state roll in both the 1,600 and 3,200, also have helped him to excel in the classroom.
"There's a lot of dedication and hard work that goes into distance training", says Zach. "I could say that all the practice and goal setting I did at practice in distance running definitely apples to academics as well."
As you might imagine, such a diverse background has given Zach options when it comes to college, so, when he had to make a choice it came down to the first class that he says, really did it for him.
Says Zach, "I think chemistry was the first class where I was actually out of my seat, participating in labs and that's where I most identify myself and find myself in the future, just doing that kind of laboratory procedure on a daily basis."
Zach will be doing those laboratory procedures at the University of Minnesota, where he plans to major in either chemistry or chemical engineering. Just don't expect this Academic All-Star to slow down the pace, because it's just the way he's wired.
"I just try to work hard now so I can open as many doors as I can for the future", says Zach. "And, I just couldn't live with the guilt if I knew that I didn't try my best."
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