Patrick Liscio, Niles West High School

Almost from the time he started talking, Patrick Liscio peppered his parents with questions about math, science and how things worked. By the time he was 5, he asked them to assign him math problems to solve and study."They taught me how to add and I became fascinated with how numbers worked," said Liscio. "For as long as I can remember I've been excited about math. It's something in the world that you can be absolutely sure of. You know if you take this approach, you'll get an answer."Liscio, 18, a senior at Niles West High School plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall.At Niles West, he holds the school's highest grade-point average in his class of 662 students and earned a perfect ACT score. Liscio had the 10th-highest score among the roughly 55,000 students nationwide in this year's American Mathematics Contest, his school's records show.In his free time, Liscio likes to tackle puzzles and is adept at solving Rubik's Cubes.But while Liscio is known as a math and science whiz, he's widely celebrated at his school for helping other students, his principal, Kaine Osburn, said. Last year, he was named math tutor of the year at his school's peer-tutoring center, Osburn said."He has taken what he is good at, and since he has a passion for it, he has sought out opportunities to challenge himself," Osburn said.Math and physics come easy for Liscio, his mother, Jan Liscio said. That's why he spends much of his time engaging in those subjects. "He's passionate about math and always has been," she said. "He really, truly enjoys math, science and physics. He asks a lot of questions and wants to learn new things. I don't know where he gets it."-- Lolly Bowean
Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune
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