Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District offices (File photo)

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) has congratulated Santa Monica High School (Samohi) senior, Maya Knauf, for earning a rare perfect score on the Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition Exam in Spring 2022. 

Knauf is one of 22 students to earn every point possible on the College Board administered exam, which is taken by approximately 530,000 students worldwide.

“I was pretty shocked, but very happy to find out about my score,” said Knauf, who also is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist. “I am incredibly grateful to receive both those honors — surprised for both, but happy.”

On the other hand, Samohi English teacher and Knauf’s AP Language teacher, Dana Danesi, was not so shocked about Knauf’s academic achievement.

“It was apparent from early on that Maya was a gifted writer, nuanced and detailed with incredible depth,” said Danesi. “What I realized over time was a firm commitment to challenging herself. She was always open to ideas about her writing, the literature we read as a class and the vast number of books she read outside of class.”

In an email sent to Samohi Principal, Marae Cruz, the head of the College Board AP program, Trevor Packer, congratulated and recognized Knauf and Samohi.

“This outstanding accomplishment is likely a direct reflection of the top-quality education being offered at Santa Monica High School,” said Packer. “We applaud Maya’s hard work and the AP teacher responsible for engaging students and enabling them to excel in a college-level course.”

Currently, Knauf is an editor of Sunlit, Samohi’s literary magazine and she plans to study English in college with the hopes of becoming an author, screenwriter, or lawyer.

“I’ve had an amazing experience with all of my English teachers at Samohi,” said Knauf. “I especially want to thank my AP Lang teacher Ms. Danesi for making that class the absolute highlight of my junior year.”

Submitted by Diana Bouchaaya, Communications Specialist