Perfect ACT scores

Posted by Superior on Jun 24th, 2009 and filed under People. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Minnetonka High School achieves a rarity: Three students with perfect ACT scores.texas-act-scores-1

Is there something in the water at Minnetonka High School?

Only 15 students in the state scored perfect marks on the spring ACT college entrance exam, and three of them are from Minnetonka High.

“We have a new drinking fountain in the science wing. It could be the water,” joked Phil Trout, who’s been a college counselor for 30 years, two of them at Minnetonka High.

“I have never worked at a school where there were three students in a single class who achieved an ACT score of 36,” Trout said. “It’s pretty unusual.”

Call them lucky, but don’t call them conceited.

Although they hope their perfect scores will help get them into the colleges of their choice, the three boys, who just finished their junior years at Minnetonka High, insist that acing the ACT doesn’t mean they’re any better students than their classmates.

“I don’t feel any smarter, said Raj Katti. “I just felt like I took the test well.”

Katti, along with classmates Mike Malloy and Greg Dryke, are among 268 nationwide who earned perfect scores on the ACT test this spring, according to the national ACT board in Iowa City.

Taking the test more than once helped, they said, but not nearly as much as remaining modest.

“All three of us are typical teenagers,” Malloy said.

“My parents remind me a lot that once you start getting a big head and resting on your laurels, you aren’t appreciating the accomplishments of others,” Katti said.

Having good teachers helps, too, Dryke said.

But the students want everyone to know that the ACT isn’t an exam you can cram for in the nights and weeks leading up to the testing date. For them, the best preparation proved to be participation in challenging programs throughout their schooling, such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes.

“They have access to course work that’s incredibly rigorous and that includes a significant writing component,” Trout said. “It’s very clear that presenting students with the opportunity to take those kinds of challenging, college-level courses has given them a strong foundation for success in a college admissions test.”

Although this year’s Minnetonka High graduating class didn’t have any students with a perfect ACT score, there were 15 National Merit Semifinalists, a new school record. To top it off, the Class of 2009’s median ACT of 25.5 is one of the highest in school history, and 92 percent of graduates have indicated they’re college-bound.

“We are not only very proud of the effort by these three students, but of the general caliber of academics at MHS,” said Principal Dave Adney. “These three perfect scores are a reflection of the commitment by the entire MHS student body to rigorous academics.”

Aimée Blanchette • 612-673-1715

MIKE MALLOY

Age: 17

Test preparation: Took the ACT for the first time in December, scored a 32, but thought he could do better in the science section. Two days before he took the exam a second time, he took two practice tests.

Reaction to perfection: “I knew I did well. I felt good about it, but I didn’t think it would be 36. I was shocked at first.”

Activities: Captain of the quiz bowl team and debate team and an editor of the school newspaper

Free time: Sports, reading and watching TV

College plans: “I’ll definitely go to college, but other than that, I’m not really sure what I want to do.”

Parents: Matt and Tami Malloy

GREG DRYKE

Age: 17

Test preparation: Spent about four hours going through the English section of a study book. As a freshman, he scored a 33 on the test, but knew he could do better. His English was lacking back then, he said.

Reaction to perfection: “It was a surprise. I knew I did well, but I still didn’t expect a 36.”

Activities: Track and field, cross country, debate, math team

Free time: Hanging out with friends, gaming, ultimate frisbee, part-time job as a cook at Snuffy’s Malt Shop

College plans: College somewhere on the East or West coast, followed by a career in the math or science fields

Parents: Paul and Lenore Dryke

Test preparation: Spent about a week studying; took the test in February and got a 34; studied the science section “a little bit” more before retaking the test and getting a 36. “And my mom always makes me eat some meat before I take tests,” Katti said. “I usually try to eat breakfast and go to bed early. But as long as you consistently try to do your homework and understand your homework, you’ll be prepared for the ACT.”

Reaction to perfection: “I was relieved. You hear about these super amazing kids who get into Yale and Harvard, and I was hoping this would be another accomplishment that colleges would see as good.”

Activities: National Honor Society president, conductor for the Minnetonka Philharmonic, violinist, student coordinator for Toastmasters’ youth leadership program

Free time: Reading to relax, stand-up comedy

College plans: Attend college at an Ivy League school and pursue a career in math or science

Parents: Romney and Jenifer Katti

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