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Mercersburg students aces SAT

January 06, 1999

Perfect scoreBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




MERCERSBURG, Pa. - After scoring well above 1400 on the SAT in his junior year, Gregory Rohman didn't need to take the test again.

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The Mercersburg Academy student took the test a second time early in his senior year and scored 1540, but even that didn't satisfy him.

The third time was the charm. He scored a perfect 1600 when he took the test again in November.

"I'm pleased, to say the least. Obviously I don't have to take it anymore," Rohman said Wednesday.

What makes the feat more impressive is that the Perrysburg, Ohio, native aced the Scholastic Assessment Test despite a learning disability, Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD.

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Simply put, those with ADD have difficulty focusing on any task for an extended period of time.

"There are medications that are sometimes prescribed for it. ... I have taken medication, but I don't anymore," said Rohman, 19.

"It's not something you grow out of. ADD doesn't go away, but you can learn to deal with it," said Rohman, whose classes include advanced physics, chemistry and calculus courses, English literature and art.

"School is not a breeze for him as you'd think it would be," said Karl Reisner, Rohman's academic adviser at the academy.

Reisner said Rohman has had to discipline himself, doing things such as sitting in the front row of classes so that he's not distracted.

Rohman is a quick study in math and the sciences, but Reisner said many courses at the private school involve a lot of essay work, and "that's the most difficult thing for him."

"He's more of a visual learner than auditory," Reisner said.

Despite ADD, Rohman had an 88 percent grade average at the end of the fall term. Rohman credited the teachers and small classes for much of his success.

"Fifth grade, I guess, is when I was officially diagnosed, but I guess I've always known I learned things a little bit differently than other folks."

Rohman, who enrolled at the academy as a sophomore, said one of the reasons his parents decided on a boarding school was to provide a learning environment "to accommodate some of the special needs I have and also challenge me to the point where I could excel."

As a measure of how Rohman has excelled, Reisner noted that more than 1 million college-bound high school students take the SAT each time it is administered around the country, with only a fraction of 1 percent earning a perfect score.

Rohman said an average of about 650 students hit 1600 on the four-hour test of math and verbal skills. Reisner said the average score is about 1000.

Despite his success on the SAT, Rohman does not spend all his time cracking the books.

At 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 190 pounds, Rohman played defensive end for the academy football team that recorded an 8-2 record last fall. He also wrestles and plays lacrosse for the school.

Rohman has applied to Princeton, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, the U.S. Naval Academy and a number of other universities.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to major in mechanical engineering," Rohman said.

Reisner said he's more pleased by Rohman's classroom performance than by his test scores.

"The growth he's made in three years is monumental," he said.

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