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National Merit semifinalist: Forest Grayson | Green Valley High School


What college do you plan on attending and for what major?

I am applying to Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth and Harvard universities; University of Chicago, Pennsylvania and Southern California, and California Institute of Technology.  I want to study astrophysics, particularly theoretical cosmology, as I wish to be at the frontier of scientific knowledge.

■ What extracurricular activities do you participate in?

I dedicate quite a bit of my time to the music program at Green Valley High School. I participate in the symphonic band, marching band, orchestra, and chamber music group. I am the president of International Awareness Club and an active participant in Varsity Quiz, Young Democrats, National Honor Society, and mathematics honor society Mu Alpha Theta.

■ What do you do for fun?

I enjoy watching Khan Academy videos, reading short stories, and going out to eat. (Khan Academy is a nonprofit offering educational videos in astronomy, physics, history and more.)

■ In detail, how did you prepare for the PSAT?

I took two practice tests and looked over some general standardized testing tips.

■ Why are grades so important to you?

Grades are not the focus of my life, nor are they the focus of my studies. I simply wish to learn as much as possible, and good grades are just a logical consequence of that drive.

■ What’s your favorite movie and book?

One of my favorite movies is "2001: A Space Odyssey," and one of my favorite books is "Sphere" by Michael Crichton.

■ What’s a guilty pleasure of yours — such as a TV show, movie or hobby — and why are you ashamed of liking it?

I really enjoy watching "Yo Gabba Gabba!" (a children’s show on Nick Jr.) despite the fact that I’m probably a little bit outside of its target audience.

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