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Kareem Omar, a senior at West Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, and Leia Wedlund, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, were named this year’s Kentucky recipients of the Siemens Foundation’s Advanced Placement awards. Both scored the highest on the most AP exams in the fields of science and math.
Omar and Wedlund are part of a group of 93 seniors and eight juniors in all 50 states who receive a $2000 college scholarship. Two national winners will each receive a $5000 scholarship.
The awards program is administered by the College Board, the 113-year-old organization founded to provide greater access to higher education. The College Board administers all AP exams and the SAT. The Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement were established in 1998.
Omar scored the highest on the most exams in 20 AP courses, but his favorite AP class was Physics B. He is the 2012 Mathematics State Champion at Governor’s Cup, the 2012 American History State Champion at Western Kentucky University and a National Merit Semifinalist. In his free time he is training for his private pilot certification. Omar plans to attend college and major in fields related to computer science, aerospace and physics.
Wedlund scored the highest on the most exams in 10 AP courses. Her favorite course was Computer Science. She plans to attend college but is undecided about a major. Wedlund founded the Winds Outreach Program which provides free music lessons to middle schoolers and plays trumpet in the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra. She was first chair trumpet in the All-State Band. She volunteers with the Future Business Leaders of America and the Outreach Program for Soccer.
The Siemens awards are given to one girl and one boy from each state. Interestingly enough, both Omar and Wedlund had the same advice for other AP students: “read the book.” Omar said, “Teachers can be incredible resources, but sometimes they are not available, may not explain concepts in a manner that connects with you, or may not have the opportunity to instruct you one-on-one.” Wedlund agreed, adding, “Read the chapter when you take notes. Don’t just use CliffsNotes.”
From Siemens Foundation