Remember these names: Sasank Desaraju, Matthew McDermott and Gregory Buettner.
These are three brilliant young men who — if the future mirrors the past — will do amazing things in their lifetimes.
All three come from Lecanto High School. All three plan to attend the University of Florida. All three are in the top 1 percent of 1.5 million students who’ve taken the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They are National Merit Scholar finalists — the tip of America’s academic spear.
One high school producing three National Merit Scholar finalists is incredible, and a rightful source of pride for both Lecanto High and the Citrus County School System. Clearly, curricula embracing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education provided this trio — and many others — opportunities to engage their brains with the-sky’s-the-limit enthusiasm.
In a Citrus County School Board insert in the Chronicle earlier this month, the three young men were prominently recognized, and details provided an interesting look into just who these guys are. Included in those overviews was the following:
Desaraju plans to pursue mathematics, physics and engineering. He’s an Eagle Scout. He was president of the 3D Design Club as well as student government vice president — and he can solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than 15 seconds.
McDermott intends to study cybersecurity and network management. His involvement has spanned from the Creative Writing Club to the Robotics Club and beyond. He was captain of the Lecanto High and district academic teams.
Buettner plans a double major in mathematics and statistics. In addition to all sorts of academic achievements, he was captain of the track team and ran cross-country.
Excerpts from teacher comments add to insight into these individuals.
On Desaraju: “Sasank’s technical ability and interest led him to complete his IB Extended Essay research paper in physics — analyzing fluid flow. ... He initiated contact and met with an MIT professor to discuss and further understand the fluid dynamics.”
On McDermott: “Always forthcoming with his computer knowledge and his willingness to aid his fellow students and teachers, a day does not go by without witnessing Matt resolve their computer issues.”
On Buettner: “This year, Greg was the only student to write his IB Extended Essay in math. The topic of this 3,000-plus-word essay? ‘A Comparsion Between Babylonian and Egyptian Fractions’!”
Solving a Rubik’s Cube in a matter of seconds, helping teachers with computer issues, comparing Babylonian and Egyptian fractions ... wow.
These three young men are ready and able to tackle the challenges of the future. Citrus County couldn’t be more proud.