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Making the grade

Claire Mallon, WHS Class of 2013, earns top AP honors in Oregon


MallonWilsonville High School’s Class of 2013 Valedictorian Claire Mallon is attending college across the country, but she continues to make news in her hometown.

Mallon, a freshman at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., recently received three honors from the College Board, which administers the Advanced Placement program at high schools around the world, including at WHS.

Mallon took a total of 15 AP tests while at WHS and recently was designated as an AP Scholar with Distinction, an honor granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 out of 5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of those exams.

She also was named a National AP Scholar, a distinction granted to students nationwide who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of those exams.

And to top it all off, she also was named one of two State AP Scholars from Oregon. That honor is granted to two students from each state and the District of Columbia, one male and one female. The designated students from each state are the ones who received the highest average score in their state on all the AP exams they have taken.

Mallon has adjusted well to her new life in Connecticut. In typical fashion, she received a score of 102 on her first homework packet.

“I’m really enjoying it,” she said. “There are a lot of private school kids here ... from some of the most elite boarding schools. But I don’t feel I’m at any disadvantage coming from Wilsonville.”

She credits the teachers and staff at Wilsonville, along with her fellow students, for her success in high school and beyond.

“I’m so grateful for all the teachers I’ve had at Wilsonville,” she said. “I couldn’t be here without everything they’ve done for me. ... Any teacher I encountered or anyone in the school that shaped my education had a hand in getting me here. And the rest of the students, the discussions in class that got me thinking, those were also invaluable in getting me here.”

Classes in chemistry, physics and psychology are propelling Mallon toward both her immediate goal of receiving an ABET-certified degree in mechanical engineering and her overall goal of entering medical school to become a surgeon. But she isn’t spending all of her time in class.

“There’s actually a surprising amount of downtime in college. It’s 2:30 and I’ve been done with classes for about an hour and a half already,” she said in a telephone interview. “I like my schedule. It can be intense at times, but I really like it.”

Mallon’s “downtime” activities include playing flute in the school’s pep band and joining the Yale Bulldog Racing Team, a student-led organization that designs, builds and races Formula hybrid cars in international collegiate competitions. She also is looking into an opportunity to mentor a FIRST Lego robotics team at a primary or middle school near New Haven. At WHS, Mallon was a member of Error Code Xero, the district’s high school robotics team.

“I really did enjoy my time in Wilsonville. I enjoyed my time in high school,” Mallon said. And, like many college freshmen, her hometown isn’t far from her mind.

“I’m excited to come home for Christmas,” she said. “I really like it here, but I’m looking forward to coming back.”




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