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January 28, 2000
Try, try, try again
If you don't succeed at first, you just try again. At least that the lesson that Shruti Patel, a junior who scored a perfect score in her Scholastic Achievement Test two months ago, has to offer.
"You just have to keep trying. It wasn't that hard," said Shruti, 17, a student at the Scranton Preparatory School in Pennsylvania.
The high marks have fuelled her ambition.
"It keeps me motivated," said Shruti, who wants to be a doctor and has applied to Northwestern University, Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania.
There always were signs available that Shruti was a cut above the rest.
"She was always an outstanding student. She worked hard and constantly looked for challenges," said her father Bhupendra Patel, 41, an internal medicine physician who lives in Susquehanna and has his own private practice.
Patel also said that the family did not do anything exceptional, other than providing attention, support and encouragement.
"My wife saw to the homework and bought her the books she wanted to read and workbooks to practice on. But the rest was all done by her," said Patel, whose wife Dharmistha Patel, 42, is away in India attending a family wedding.
"She's just lucky she got her mother's looks and her father's genes," said Patel, laughing, adding that his two other daughters Sachi, 13, and Sonal, 8, were also good students.
Shruti took her first SAT exam when she was in the seventh grade and scored 1,220. The next time, she took it in the ninth grade and scored a 1,520, of which 800 was in mathematics and 710 in the verbal section. Then, nine months later, she decided to do it again and was rewarded with a perfect score.
Shruti, a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholar Program and a member of the National Honor Society, is going to graduate early this year.
Only a small percentage of students get a perfect score in the SATs.
"This is a great accomplishment. She is an outstanding student and a terrific person. We are very proud," said Principal Henry Hewitt, who added that Shruti was the second student in the last four years to ace the test. The earlier top scorer was one Rishi Bajaj.
Shruti is not an all-work-and-no-play type. She has won awards in math and science and a gold medal in Latin in a national exam. But she is also a reporter for the school newspaper, a member of the drama club and is listed in the 'Who's Who Among American High School Students'.
She was also a class representative, is in the student council and plays volleyball.
Shruti has just one piece of advice for other students: "Never give up. Just keep trying."
Going by her record, you can take her word for it.
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