Holy Cross student's SAT scores only show part of story

Yeon Soo Kim

June 11, 2010 4:17:58 PM PDT
It's quite an achievement for a student to get an almost perfect score on the SAT, but it's remarkable if that student has only spoken English for three years.

Yeon Soo Kim, a junior at Holy Cross High School in Delran, simply decided there would be no boundaries on what she could achieve.

"I think I always like to challenge myself," Kim said.

Just being in this country has been a challenge for 18-year-old Yeon Soo Kim. She came here as an exchange student in 2007, speaking little English and knowing no one.

"It means I have to do everything independently. I have to decide what's right, what kind of friends I should hang out with, and everything helped me to kind of broaden my viewpoints," Kim said.

This year, on her first SAT's, her verbal score was 780.

"I feel that English is a tool for me to have a conversation with others and to get to know different cultures, how they think," Kim said.

Teachers have been awed by her relentless quest for knowledge.

"Always, always pursuit of excellence in trying to achieve as high a score as she could," teacher Eugene Tosto said.

Her academic intensity helped her score a perfect 800 in Math.

She is a peer Math tutor for her classmates.

"If I have more knowledge in math than others do, I want to help others," Kim said.

Having her in class is this math teacher's dream.

"It is, but it's also a challenge because I have to be on top of my game the entire time," honors math teacher Frank Sgroi said.

Yeon Soo's SAT writing score was an impressive 710; a recent essay, exploring her journey, ranked in the top ten of a national contest.

Part of her essay read, "I am no longer a vulnerable girl. Any adversity would better be an opportunity given for me to bloom."

Yeon Soo hopes to attend an Ivy League College then return to South Korea to be a diplomat.