Fruita senior wins award for perfect AP tests
All previous Siemens winners have come from Front Range
Of the eight Advanced Placement tests Fruita Monument High School senior Lindsey Whitesides has taken, seven have come back with the highest score possible, a five.
That accomplishment earned the 17-year-old this year’s Siemens Award for Advanced Placement Winners and a $2,000 scholarship. The Siemens Foundation annually bestows the accolade on one female and one male high school senior in every state who have the most AP scores of five.
Whitesides said she didn’t expect to win when she submitted her name for the award.
“I didn’t think that out of all the crazy people on the Front Range, I had enough AP courses” to compete, she said.
Colorado’s male winner of the Siemens Award is from the Front Range: Daniel Wright of Monarch High School in Louisville. All of Colorado’s Siemens winners have been from the Front Range until now. If anyone had to break the streak, Fruita Monument counselor Bob Corneille said he wasn’t surprised it was Whitesides.
“She’s one of the two smartest students I’ve ever worked with,” he said.
Whitesides began taking AP tests in ninth grade, when she earned a five on an AP human geography test. The streak continued her sophomore year when she took AP tests in biology, chemistry and environmental science and got fives on all three. She earned top scores her junior year on AP physics, calculus and statistics tests and a four on an AP English Language test.
In May, she’ll take AP tests in U.S. government, microeconomics, and Spanish, plus the physics-mechanics and physics-electromagnetism tests.
Math and science are Whitesides’ favorite subjects. She plowed through every advanced course she could take in science or math at Fruita Monument and moved on this year to take Calculus 3, Physics 131 and Physics 231 courses at Colorado Mesa University. She took some of her AP exams without even taking a corresponding AP class just because she has devoured the subject matter.
“I like challenges,” she said. “Getting college credit has not been my main goal in taking AP tests, it’s been challenging myself.”
Whitesides said there is no secret to her test-taking prowess aside from having a good memory, paying attention in class and doing lots of practice questions.
“Especially with math and science, you just have to build (the knowledge) throughout the year,” she said.
How many college credits Whitesides will earn for her AP scores depends on which school she chooses. She has been accepted to the University of Colorado in Boulder and expects to hear this month from Stanford University, Harvey Mudd College and the California Institute of Technology.
Cal Tech, she said, doesn’t accept any AP credits as a substitute for general education courses. At other schools, Whitesides said she might be able to start classes with about 60 credits, including some from her CMU courses and six credits from a year-long Youth Policy Summit course she participated in last year at the John McConnell Math and Science Center of Western Colorado.