McCandless student improves on perfect SAT score

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:57 p.m.

Getting a perfect score on the critical reading portion of the SAT wasn't good enough for Roman Solomond, 17, of McCandless. Aiming to outdo himself, he took it again in November, and this time, he got a perfect score on both the critical reading and mathematics sections.

Earlier last year, he was joined by other students of Aquinas Academy in Hampton — Margaret Boyd of Sewickley, Paige Hardman of Cranberry Township, Christopher Kirkland of Sewickley, Clare Meland of Shaler and Maria McKeating of Pine Township — in attaining a perfect score of 800 in the critical reading section.

“Reading isn't my strong suit, so I made sure to go over that section of the SAT prep book and understand what they were looking for in the questions,” Solomond said.

He said he was shocked to learn that in his second attempt, he earned an 800 on both the critical reading and mathematics sections. His score on the writing section, the third section, was 690.

For the graduating class of 2012, the average scores on the three portions of the SAT were critical reading, 496; mathematics, 514; and writing, 488, according to the College Board, which administers the college-entrance examination.

“When I took the SAT the first time and scored 800 in critical reading, I had done little to prepare for math but received a score so close to perfect in math that I decided to give it one more try,” he said. “I was excited when I first saw the score for my second SAT, which made my super score 2290. The fact that I was able to score an 800 in both math and critical reading on a single test made it even more rewarding. I owe a lot of my success to my teachers, who have guided and taught me throughout the years, and I am thankful for them.”

Leslie Mitros, 52, of Pine Township, and head of school at Aquinas, said she's not surprised by the scores because she knows the caliber of her students. “I never want to lose sight of the fact that the school didn't get the scores, the students did,” she said. “I do believe that we provide them with the resources. It's an affirmation that the particular kind of (classical) curriculum we have … works best in forming young minds.”

The students have been humble about their scores, Mitros said, and simply are doing what they do best.

Solomond said he plans to study engineering in college

His parents Chris, 46, and Janine, 45, said that his success is a testament to both their son's hard work and the exemplary education he receives at Aquinas.

“We're happy that Roman has used his God-given abilities to do so well academically. He doesn't necessarily fit the mold of a ‘brainy' kid, so some people may have been surprised at his scores,” Janine Solomond explained. “He has always had an enthusiasm for learning, and we're thankful for the wonderful teachers at Aquinas Academy who fostered his eagerness to learn.”

Alex Audia is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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