Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two SBISD seniors earn perfect ACT scores

Two seniors who attend Spring Branch ISD high schools are among members of a tiny group of U.S. students who have earned a perfect 36 composite score on the ACT national college admissions exam. Out of more than a million test-takers across the country, fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of all students earn that score. ACT Inc. reported last year that only 781 perfect scores were recorded out of more than 1.6 million tests taken.

Earning perfect test scores in the June administration of the ACT are Stratford High senior Annie Ye and Memorial High senior Grant Kirchhofer. “I did not think that I scored 36, but I felt pretty good about it,” Annie said.

She was traveling with her family on vacation in Barcelona, Spain, when she opened her ACT email and learned her score. She was pleasantly surprised, she said. Interested in medical studies and research, she is thinking about Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Rice, Cornell and Stanford universities.

The private universities are “dream” schools for her. “I want to major in a biology-related field and then go to medical school. I would like to do research in the health sciences,” Annie says. Advanced Placement (AP) chemistry was one of her favorite classes. A gifted cellist who began playing in sixth grade, Annie is a member of the Stratford High Orchestra.

She was a finalist in the Stratford Concerto Competition, a soloist in the orchestra’s Winter Concert, and is a member of the student pit orchestra for Stratford Playhouse productions. Annie organized the Environmental Club, which will focus on plastic recycling at the high school. She is also a member of the Stratford Academy Science & Engineering student program.

Annie grew up in the Spring Branch area and attended Memorial Middle and Wilchester Elementary, in addition to Stratford High. Memorial High’s Grant Kirchhofer had high expectations about his ACT results, but his walk-away feeling after the test was that the science section was difficult to call. Active in high school band and swimming, Grant was at a swim meet in Florida when his email test results arrived. He opened the ACT email when he returned home.

His whoops from inside the family game room drew his mother to the celebration. “I was just really surprised. I felt confident that I got a 34, but not a 36,” he said. Grant is considering state institutions like Texas A&M and UT at Austin as well as private and public universities nationwide. A National Honor Society member, he likes math best, and is exploring computer science, business and engineering as possible college majors and career areas.

A team co-captain this year, Grant swims butterfly, breaststroke and individual medley for Memorial. He has competed at the varsity level since his freshman year. The Mustang’s medley relay, for which Grant swims the butterfly, placed fourth at the district meet last year. He also competes in the USA Swimming meets with the Dad’s Club Swim Team. He took up clarinet in the sixth grade at Memorial Middle School. He’ll be a Memorial Band section leader for a second year this fall. Grant was named an Eagle Scout as a member of Boy Scout Troop 599 last fall.

Growing up, he attended Bunker Hill Elementary. In addition to band and swimming, Grant will take four AP courses this fall, including a calculus class that might earn him up to two full semesters of college credits. “My parents are really supportive of me in all my academics and they have also been supportive of me personally in swimming and in band,” Grant says.

His brothers include Ben, who is a senior at Texas A&M, and Davis, who will be a freshman at Memorial High this fall. Earlier this year, Memorial High seniors Rajat Mehndiratta and George Chen both received top scores on their SATS.

Their scores of 2350 to 2400 qualifed as “perfect” scores by the SAT’s College Board. Less than one-fifth of 1 percent of SAT test takers earns such high scores. More than 1.7 million students nationwide take the SAT each year.


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