MAHONING VALLEY Anthrax foul-up holds up SAT scores, vexes students

Students can retake the test Dec. 15 at Harding at no charge.
WARREN -- When Katie White took the SAT college entrance exam last month, little did she know she was about to become a victim in the nation's anthrax scare.
White, a senior at Liberty High School, is among 50 Valley high school students whose answer sheets for the exam are stuck in a New Jersey post office closed because of anthrax contamination.
Anxiously awaiting the test scores to help in their college applications, the students are left in limbo.
"They're pretty upset," William Rupert, guidance counselor, said about the half-dozen Liberty students whose test sheets are in New Jersey.
"But, we try to put it in perspective. At least they weren't in the World Trade Center or received anthrax in the mail. So, in the big scheme of things, this isn't a big deal, although it is to them right now."
Answer sheets: The College Board, which administers the national college entrance test, reported Wednesday that it has yet to receive the answer sheets for 7,800 students who took the exam Oct. 13 at 89 test centers nationwide.
Included in the unaccounted-for answer sheets are 50 students who took the test at Warren Harding High School, said Jennifer Topiel, College Board spokeswoman.
While the test was given at Harding, students from high schools throughout Mahoning and Trumbull counties took the test at the site.
The answer sheets for other test-takers in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys have been accounted for, Topiel said.
Topiel said the answer sheets likely are in the Trenton, N.J., post office, which was closed Oct. 18 because of an anthrax contamination.
"They're stuck," she said.
She said the College Board does not know when the Trenton post office will reopen and the board is encouraging students to retake the test Dec. 15 at Harding at no charge.
When the post office is reopened and if the answer sheets are found, the higher of the Oct. 13 and Dec. 15 test administrations can be used by students for college applications, she said.
Negative impact: Rupert said the foul-up could negatively affect one Liberty student's chances to enter a highly selective West Coast college. He said the school has a Jan. 1 application deadline.
"The chance now of her getting the scores and getting them to the school by Jan. 1 is slim," he said.
Susie White said her daughter, Katie, who is planning to attend college and then medical school, was taking the test to improve scores she achieved last year.
She said the foul-up shouldn't affect Katie's chances of entering college.
"It's unfortunate for these kids," she said. "You work hard and prepare for these tests, and then something happens like this that is beyond your control."
For more information, students and parents can call (609) 771-7600.

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