Meet a nearly perfect teen

Whoever said “nobody’s perfect” never met Kate Tsourmas.

She’s just a teenager, so she hasn’t had time to make too many mistakes, but her list of accomplishments goes well beyond her years.

The Boise High School senior has never had a B — all A’s in every single class all of her life.

She’s taken five AP tests and passed them all.

She’s now getting national attention after scoring a perfect 36 on the ACT test, a standardized college readiness assessment.

Kate Tsourmas
Kate Tsourmas with her 13-year-old sister Amy

On average, less than one tenth of 1 percent of the nearly 2 million high school students who take the exam score a 36. Among test-takers in the high school graduating class of 2013, only 1,162 of 1.8 million students earned the perfect score.

Kate said she studied just two hours for the ACT. It took her four hours to complete it.

“I went in pretty focused and I paced myself,” she said. “I’m good at memorizing. I do well in trivia games.”

Kate scored a 2260 on the SAT, another college readiness assessment exam. She was nearly perfect — the maximum is 2400 — and good enough to be named a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. Finalists are named in February.

“My odds are pretty good,” Kate said.

Kate has already committed to attend Westminster College in Salt Lake City. She chose the school because of its science programs. She wants to be a neuroscientist; she wants to understand how the brain works, and find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

“It’s horrible when you have to see a family member suffer through that disease,” she said.

“She’s a sponge and intense about wanting to learn,” said her mother, Stephanie Inman-Tsourmas. “She’s always been super verbal — we could have full conversations when she was only 18 months old.”

Kate’s talents stretch far beyond the classroom and test-taking. She’s a top athlete at Boise High and was recruited to play volleyball at Westminster. She likes to play the guitar and sew. She enjoys hunting through thrift stores to find clothing she can alter to fit her 6-foot-1 frame. “I make them cuter.”

If Kate wins the National Merit Scholarship, combined with her athletic and academic scholarships, she will have earned full tuition to Westminster.

“Kate is an absolutely outstanding young lady,” said Boise High vice principal Anne Ross.

Stephanie is a graphic designer and Kate’s father, John, is a product manager at Boise Cascade. Kate has a 13-year-old sister, Amy.

“We feel like we’re more normal and she’s not,” Stephanie said. “She’s always been really bright and hard working.”

Kate, who considered becoming a journalist, loves to read and write and her favorite book is “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

“I’ve always wanted to know more about everything,” Kate said. “I’ve been a little obsessive.”

Tsourmas family
The Tsourmas family




Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over two million pageviews a year. Jennifer has more than 35 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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