From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Steve Brandt, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Paul Levy and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

Perfect scores hit double digits in ACT roundup

Posted by: Anthony Lonetree Updated: January 22, 2014 - 5:16 PM

Twin Cities area high schools currently boast at least 20 juniors and seniors who have aced the ACT college entrance exam in the past year, a Star Tribune survey shows.

One student, Anna Kalkman, a Cretin-Derham Hall High junior, posted her perfect score when she was just a sophomore last spring, Principal Mona Passman wrote in an email.

The Star Tribune asked local schools about students who scored a perfect 36 on their ACT's after the organization's Iowa City, Ia., headquarters reported that 12 metro area students had aced the exam during the fall. Schools were asked if the students wished to be identified, prompting some to say they also had students post perfect scores earlier in the year. The total number of "36'ers" still in school rose to 20.

A perfect score can help open doors to prestigious institutions, as well as trigger a blizzard of email messages from schools to students posting perfect scores.

Wayzata and Eden Prairie high schools each have five students who scored 36's.

At Eden Prairie High, Amy Tan, a senior, and Lindsey Blanshan, a junior, received perfect scores in the fall. In July, the district was notified that three other current seniors -- Jacob Dungan, Ella Johnson and Sasha Warbritton -- also recorded 36's earlier, a district spokeswoman said last week.

The Wayzata 36'ers include:

Mason Anderson, an outside linebacker on the football team and an 800-meter runner on the track team, who is interested in majoring in engineering or a math-related field.

Bella Roussanov, who is involved in the Science Olympiad and plays the piano and volunteers at the Wayzata Public Library, and is considering majoring in chemistry, economics or creative writing.

Sruti Paladugu, who participates in the Science Bowl, Science Olympiad and school math team, and is interested in majoring in a science or engineering field.

Zoe Tu, captain of the school's speech team and its 2013-14 state championship swim and dive team, who may major in chemistry and pursue a career in pharmaceutical medicine.

William Zeng, who participates in the Science Olympiad, Science Bowl and Boy Scouts, and is interested in majoring in pre-med or biomedical engineering.

St. Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul had three students post 36's, one of whom declined to be identified. The other two students were:

Mason Mohring, captain of the varsity soccer and tennis teams and an accomplished debater at both the state and national levels, who is interested in studying the social sciences in college.

Meera Singh, a member of the varsity soccer and track teams and of the Summit Singers, a school choir that performed at Carnegie Hall in New York last year, who plans to study economics and public health, with an emphasis on nutrition.

Three schools -- Cretin-Derham Hall, Minnetonka and The Blake School -- have two students with 36's.

The Blake School students were Apurv Hirsh Shekhar and David Steffen.

At Minnetonka, one student achieved a perfect score without doing any test preparations. He declined to be identified. The other student, Kelvin Loke, wrote in an email that he was surprised to score his 36, given it was his first attempt. He is a co-captain of the math team, a flute player and a black belt in Kung Fu, he said, and is considering pre-med with a possible emphasis in neuroscience.

At Cretin-Derham Hall, Kalkman, who posted the 36 as a sophomore, is active in soccer, speech and theater, and is considering engineering or medicine as a career. Her classmate and fellow 36'er, Maria Neuzil, plays the clarinet and has earned all-conference honorable mention in swimming for three years. She hopes to study abroad, study multiple languages and play the clarinet in a college-level ensemble.

Two schools -- South High in Minneapolis and Hopkins High -- each had one student ace the ACT.

South senior William Ibele, 17, participates in the school's theater program and performs in a band outside of school, and is interested in pursuing a theater major.

Hopkins junior Estelle Bayer, an avid reader who has been a member of the theater program for three years, hopes to attend a small liberal arts college. She has yet to narrow her choices, but is not lacking in attention from higher-education institutions. In fact, Bayer said she is working to prevent them from overwhelming her email account: "I'm not even keeping track of the names anymore," the Hopkins Public Schools quoted her as saying. "I'm just going through and deleting them by bunches."

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