The latest news, events and updates from the San Marino USD

September 19, 2023

San Marino Unified School District Celebrates Student Who Earned a Rare “Perfect” Score on an Advanced Placement Exam

San Marino, California – San Marino Unified School District celebrates high school student Kathy Jia for earning a perfect score on a college-level Advanced Placement® (AP®) Exam in spring 2023.

Kathy Jia was one of only 23 students in the world to earn every point possible on the AP Chemistry Exam. When Superintendent Dr. de la Torre was asked about Kathy’s select performance, she said: "Kathy Jia's extraordinary accomplishment in achieving a perfect score on the AP Chemistry exam is a source of immense pride and inspiration for the San Marino High School community. Her dedication to academic excellence exemplifies the spirit of curiosity and perseverance that we hope to instill in all our students. Kathy's achievement not only showcases her remarkable abilities but also reflects the outstanding education provided by our dedicated educators. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Kathy and have no doubt that her future is bound for greatness, leaving an indelible mark on our world."

Mrs. Shelley Ryan, Board President was thrilled to learn of Kathy’s perfect score. In response, she said the following: "Kathy Jia's perfect score on the AP Chemistry exam is a testament to her outstanding intellect, relentless dedication, and the unwavering support of our exceptional educators at San Marino High School. Her achievement not only showcases her remarkable abilities but also reflects the commitment to academic excellence that defines our school community. We are incredibly proud of Kathy's accomplishment, and it serves as a beacon of inspiration for all students. As Board President, I commend her on this extraordinary milestone, and I have no doubt that she will continue to shine brightly in all her future endeavors."

“AP courses and exams are college-level, requiring great focus and persistence among participating students,” said Trevor Packer, head of the Advanced Placement Program. “We applaud the educators who encourage students to challenge themselves, who motivate and encourage diverse students to achieve their academic potential.”

The Advanced Placement Program is committed to ensuring that students have access to the opportunities they have earned. Students who succeed in AP are not only more likely to succeed in college but also have the chance to save a significant amount of time and money by earning college credit or placement.

Colleges and universities around the world receive AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, and/or consideration in the admission process. To learn more about AP, please visit


About San Marino High School


San Marino High School (SMHS), is a leader in student academics, arts, athletics and activities. SMHS offers 14 honors courses in English 1-2, English 3-4, Advanced Digital Film, Advanced Financial Literacy, Geometry, Algebra 2, Math Analysis, Calculus AB, Humanities Seminar, Caltech STEM Research, Dance Company, Physics, Chamber Singers, and Advanced Journalism & Yearbook. Additionally, SMHS offers 17 Advanced Placement courses in Macroeconomics, World History, American Government, US History, English Language, Studio Art (two areas), English Literature, Biology, Environmental Science, Calculus AB, Chinese Language, Calculus BC, Spanish Language, Chemistry, Statistics, and Computer Science. In 2020, students in grades 10-12 took 807 AP exams. 87% of the scores earned were a 3, 4, or 5.

Through SMHS's Dual Enrollment program and articulated courses, Students at SMHS are also offered the opportunity to take college courses such as Sociology, Kinesiology and Psychology through a Dual Enrollment agreement with Pasadena City College, with Business 116 as an articulated course. SMHS also offers three Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways. We offer a Medical Arts Academy in partnership with PCC where students are taught by college professors during the day on our campus and students receive college credit. Our state-of-the-art courses provide students with access to technology and equipment traditionally only found in postgraduate medical schools. The CTE Business pathway is delivered through the courses of Introduction Business & Finance, Intermediate Business & Finance, and Financial Literacy. The CTE Media Arts pathway is delivered through the courses Introduction Media Arts, Intermediate Media Arts, and Advanced Digital Film-making. The CTE Graphic Design pathway is delivered through the courses Introduction to Graphic Design, Intermediate Graphic Design, and Advanced Journalism & Yearbook.

SMHS also provides award-winning Visual and Performing Arts Education. SMHS offers courses in the Fundamentals of Art, Art AP, Drawing & Painting, Advanced Drawing & Painting, Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Orchestra, Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Beginning Drama, Intermediate Drama, Advanced Drama, and Stage Management.

Students at SMHS participate in athletic competitions through the Rio Hondo League in all the following; co-ed badminton, boys and girls swimming, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls golf, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls water polo, boys and girls wrestling, boys and girls cross country, football, and boys and girls volleyball. Throughout its history, SMHS has won over 300 league titles and over 70 CIF championships.

Students at SMHS also participate in one of the most decorated Speech and Debate teams in the country which has earned hundreds of honors over the past decade along with an equally competitive and honored Robotics team both of which compete nationally.

San Marino Unified School District | (626) 299-7000 |
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