Ben Franklin Academy senior Jonas Iskander said there is a lot more to learning than just the grades one makes on tests.

“When you are going through your life at school, it is easy to get lost in worrying about grades and what grade you may have made on a particular exam,” said the 17-year-old son of Susan Duderstadt and John Iskander.

“One of the things that being a student here at BFA has taught me is that while grades are certainly important, don’t allow those grades to make you lose sight of such basic things as why you enjoy learning and what that knowledge can bring to your life,” he said.

Although Ben Franklin does not release any academic information about its current students, Iskander is the school’s STAR student, the award presented to students whose standardized test scores elevate them to the highest 10 percent of their senior class.

He has applied to several colleges but is waiting to see if he would be accepted into his first choice, MIT as he has aspirations of being a math teacher.

Edward Ellis, who has taught Iskander in numerous subjects, including honors literature, English and philosophy, and is also his cross country and ultimate Frisbee coach, described Iskander as a serious-minded student who has a very curious brain.

“I like to call Jonas a big thinker as his mind is driven by his own curiosity,” Ellis said. “In addition to being an outstanding student, Jonas is also a great athlete and is one of the best runners we have on our cross country team.”

Although attending public school for a number of years “just wasn’t working out for me,” as Iskander termed it, he enrolled at Ben Franklin as a high school freshman and saw a difference almost immediately.

“This academy has done a good job of accommodating me with the fact that I have often been taking other courses online from other institutions,” he said. “In addition, BFA is part of a friendly and well-connected community in which it is easy to feel right at home.”

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