Douglas High student gets perfect SAT verbal |

Douglas High student gets perfect SAT verbal

Linda Hiller

Some kids are just motivated to learn right from the start.

At the age of 3, Daniel Neuffer was teaching himself to read on a magnetic letter board, according to his mother, Susan.

“The summer Dan was 3, he would just sit there with that board and work with the letters, teaching himself to read,” she said.

A senior at Douglas High School, Neuffer, 17, recently scored a perfect 800 on the verbal portion of his Scholastic Aptitude Test.

“I think I missed one,” he said.

To get a perfect score on the verbal portion of the SAT, a student has to know spelling, vocabulary and grammar, among other things.

“Dan was the only one here at DHS to score a perfect 800,” said Carolyn Porter, career counselor. She added that he is currently ranked 17th in the senior class.

As of his last report card, Dan’s GPA is 4.2. He scored 600 on the math portion of the test.

Dan is the son of Susan and Mark Neuffer, who have three other children: Scott, 14, Sean, 11 and Rebecca, 4. The family moved to Carson Valley from Redmond, Wash. in January 1993.

“DHS has been a positive experience since we moved,” Susan said, adding that Dan’s independence and self-motivation have always been factors in his scholastic achievements.

“Dan is an independent person,” Susan said, “so he’s not that influenced by peer pressure.”

Does he study a lot? “Not a lot,” Dan said, but it is apparent that education is important in the Neuffer household.

“The kids do have family chores, but if they have tests or papers due for school, that comes first,” Susan said.

As for giving rewards to the children for good grades, she said, “We don’t do that – it’s too expensive.”

“There was one time when we did give what you might call a reward, though,” she added. “Dan was in AP (advanced placement) calculus, and it just wasn’t clicking for him. He wanted to drop the class, but the school said there were no more classes for him to take. So we told him if he hung in there and pulled an A or a B, we’d reimburse him for the new skis he had just purchased, and it worked.”

“Basically, though, we try to give our kids credit that they will be able to handle their schooling and friends, and keep their grades up,” she said. “If their grades drop, then that is when we get involved.”

Asked about favorite teachers, he didn’t hesitate to name DHS English and history teacher, Barbara Doherty.

“My favorite classes have been British literature and American history taught by Mrs. Doherty,” he said.

Dan has already been accepted at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and plans to study geology or geophysics. After that, he’d like to finish the flying lessons he started last year.