Mr. Perfect

Zachary Olkewicz left Burbank High School without a diploma so he could care for his ailing father. But he studied hard for the GED and passed with the “only perfect score out of the 569,000 people who took it in California over the last decade,” reported the LA Times. Nationwide, only six people aced the 7 1/2-hour test, which covers reading, writing, math, science and social studies.

Now in community college, Olkewicz wants to start a software design business.

My brother-in-law dropped out of high school and joined the Navy in the ’50s. He passed the GED with a very high score. After leaving the Navy, he asked the Cal Poly admissions director what he’d have to do to get in. He hadn’t taken the SAT, but he had his GED report with him. The admissions director went to talk to the dean of engineering, then returned to say, “You’re in.” My brother-in-law was graduated four years later with a degree in computer science. Of course, Cal Poly probably isn’t that flexible these days.

About Joanne


  1. Richard Heddleson says:

    Congratulations to Mr. Olkewicz. I’d wish him good luck, too, but somehow it doesn’t seem he’ll need it.

  2. While I’m thrilled for him, I don’t understand why he didn’t take the Calfornia Proficency Test which is really more indicative of what people really learn in high school. It’s harder but better regarded.

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    I heartily approve of allowing alternative means of achieving certificates, since I made use of those several times in my life. I have noticed that opposition to “Mustanging” is heaviest among those left of the curve, who consider their degree or license as a franchise and other entrants as competition.

  4. pragmatist says:

    Walter …

    EXACTLY. It seems to be a case of “I had to
    sit through all this ‘[email protected]’ so you do too!” And
    much like the guilds of the Middle Ages, this
    credentialism is used to restrict economic
    competition instead of enhancing it.

    Mr. Olkewicz will be a welcome addition to my
    field. Where excellence and outstanding ability
    is way more important than ‘certificates on the

    btw – since I am ‘certificated’ (ycch) I like
    to think I have both bases covered. Though
    I will readily admit to daydreaming during
    those silly “earn the paper” classes.