I want to highlight the accomplishments of some students I've had the pleasure of meeting during special events this week. They represent some of the outstanding young people in our state who have distinguished themselves both in and out of the classroom.
These students include those who achieved top scores on their ACT or SAT exams and are preparing to graduate from high school in the coming weeks. Other exceptional students include elementary, middle and high school students who have excelled in an economics competition held regularly in our state, known as the Nebraska Stock Market Game.
I was joined by Dr. Roger Breed, Nebraska's Commissioner of Education, principals and parents at ceremonies held to recognize graduating high school seniors who earned the highest possible scores on the ACT or SAT.
In the class of 2010, nine Nebraska students earned a top ACT score and two students earned the highest possible scores the SAT. Students earning a 36 on the ACT include: Zachary Christensen of Elkhorn High School, Jahan Claes of Lincoln East High School, Matthew Deveney of Omaha North High Magnet School, Thomas Gilgenast of Creighton Preparatory School, Anna Heffron of Skutt Catholic High School, Griffin Hovorka of Elmwood Murdock High School, Grace Lyden of Westside High School, Nick Ryan of Lincoln East High School in Lincoln, and Zion Schell of Lincoln High School.
In addition to a perfect score on the ACT, Nick Ryan of Lincoln East High School received the highest possible score of 2400 on the SAT. Elisabeth Thoreson-Green of Westside High School also earned a 2400 on the SAT.
Overall, Nebraska students score better than the national average. The average SAT score was 1509 among this year's college bound seniors, with Nebraska senior SAT takers scoring 1753. Last year, the average composite ACT score for Nebraska high school graduates was 22.1, which is the highest of states where more than 75 percent of students took the ACT.
There is more good academic news to highlight in Nebraska. A second group of students I've had the privilege of meeting recently are the teams winning the spring competition in the Nebraska Stock Market Game, which transports students into the investment world with the opportunity to merge academic concepts with real-world experience.
For more than 20 years, the Stock Market Game has been coordinated throughout the state by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education. Nearly 4,000 students in grades four through 12 work in teams to invest $100,000 in virtual cash during a 10-week period.
Economic literacy is important for the students' futures and the future of this state and our nation. Congratulations to the 2010 winning teams from Hillrise Elementary School in Elkhorn, Norris Middle and High Schools in Firth, and Blair High School.
Their performance and that of those achieving the elite academic achievement of a perfect score on the ACT and SAT exams are outstanding examples of how Nebraska students are preparing for the future.
Combining hard work with the support of parents and other family members, teachers and other mentors is the foundation for engaged and successful students both in and out of the classroom. The achievements of these students are evidence of a true commitment to learning.
The students I honored are just a few of the outstanding young people in our state who have distinguished themselves in the classroom, and I'm confident they will build upon their accomplishments in the years ahead.