Perfect, Perfect, and Just Perfect
Perfect, Perfect and Just Perfect
Three young men at Santa Fe High School achieved the impressively perfect score of 36 on their ACT tests this year. Here are their reactions to their scores and advice to other students. For anyone seeking the secret to their success, just take note of their commonalities: music lessons, advanced placement (AP) classes, and motivating friendships.
Joshua Zhu, Sophomore
Reaction: I’d gotten up one morning to look on the website for my score— and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I thought I’d prepared well, but no a 36. My parents were thrilled.
Success Secret: I took a bunch of advanced classes, and I’m thankful for that because I learned the ACT skills in those classes. I want to thank my teachers, mentors, counselors, and friends at school. Santa Fe demonstrates quality education. They teach me not just material, but how to manage my time more efficiently. My parents also encourage me to spend my time wisely.
Free Time: I play violin in the school orchestra. I’m also in the environmental club and on the academic team, and I plan to do more clubs because I want to be involved with school. In my free time, I go out with friends and watch movies.
Future Plans: I’m just a sophomore now, but hopefully I’ll go into business like my sister did. She’s in New York now. She also scored a 36.
Advice: I think it’s definitely important to be motivated and to make good use of your time. Having Michael Yu as one of my friends probably helped. I had the feeling he’d get a 36 because he’s brilliant, and maybe that provided a small amount of pressure for me to want it too.
Michael Yu, Junior
Reaction: My mom woke me up one morning and said I “got 36.” I was still tired, and I was like, “36 what? 36 dollars?” After I woke up and realized what she was talking about, that was really nice. I thought I might have made a 35, but not a 36. I think my friends were more excited than me. I remember Joshua Zhu jumping around.
Success Secret: I took the official practice tests, and ever since middle school, I’ve taken summer classes that allowed me to get enough credits to skip a grade, so it bumped me up to a junior this year.
Free Time: I’ve played piano since I was four, and violin since 6th grade. I like to read old classic books, like Don Quixote. I’ve also been pulled into the genre of non- fiction books because I read the book, Freakonomics, and the points were so interesting, and it was written with a fiction-like storyline.
Future Plans: To get into a better college.
Advice: My motivation was, “Don’t do worse than Joshua.” I’ve always had good friends throughout school who have worked hard and motivated me. Having that competition helped.
Brian Carton, Senior
Reaction: I was in physics class when I was called to the office. The principals gathered around and showed me my score. I was blown away. It seemed unattainable–but there it was. The principals were very congratulatory, and my parents were very happy.
Success Secret: I’ll say it’s a combination of a desire for knowledge and taking AP classes. AP classes are very difficult, so it made the ACT seem easy.
Free Time: I play cello in the school orchestra, and I’m also in the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra. Music and computers are my hobbies
Future Plans: My inbox is completely full of college emails, but my plan is to go to the University of Oklahoma because I want to stay in state. I want to double-major in computer engineering and mathematics.
Advice: Take AP classes, apply yourself, and with enough practice–you can do anything!