The Norman Transcript

November 4, 2013

Three NPS students score perfect ACT scores

By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Perfection is a feat many strive for and will never attain. To be free of flaws and mistakes is a rare state — some might even call it impossible — yet three Norman Public Schools’ students went above and beyond to achieve perfect ACT scores.

Joseph Sullivan and Chris Brooks, Norman High School seniors, and William Long, a Norman North senior, all scored a perfect 36 on the ACT.

The ACT is a standardized exam taken by high school students to gauge their college and career readiness. Students are assessed with four multiple choice subject tests in English, reading, math and science reasoning.

All four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. accept the ACT for the college admissions process. Students often see an increase in their score the more times they take it, but few attain a perfect score.

Sullivan, son of Kenny and Dawn Sullivan, said he took the ACT five times, but it was on his last try that he made a 36 his senior year.

“I was encouraged by my English teacher, Gail St. John, to take the test again. I had already made a 35, but I figured I had nothing to lose,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan came out a winner with his perfect score, and now he hopes his score will give him the edge to get into Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or the University of Oklahoma.

“I hope my score will get me noticed and into those colleges ... I want to study engineering. Both my parents are engineers,” Sullivan said.

However, college acceptance wasn’t the only motivating factor that led Sullivan to take the ACT a fifth time; competition played a role, too.

“Chris had already got a 36. We have AP physics together, and there is a friendly competition between us,” Sullivan said.

Chris Brooks, son of Harold and Katherine Brooks, made a 36 on his ACT his junior year. After preparing for the pre-SAT, Brooks said he applied the tips and tricks he learned from that preparation to his ACT exam.

“It wasn’t really difficult for me,” Brooks said.

With the academic hurdle of the ACT behind him, Brooks said his senior year, he will complete concurrent enrollment at OU, where he’d like to go to college and study electrical engineering and technical theater.

William Long, son of John and May Long, had a different approach to taking the ACT than Brooks or Sullivan. Long said he averaged a practice test a day for about two weeks, which meant he dedicated about three hours a day to the exam.

With Harvard University and Columbia University as his top college choices, Long said he would like to study engineering because he likes the idea of building his own products.

“Really, it’s a blessing. I feel like without God, none of this would be possible,” Long said.

Not your average high school students, Sullivan, Brooks and Long excel in other areas besides academics, and all hope these activities will reflect their well-rounded character to universities.

Sullivan is focused on taking the SAT Physics subject test and going to state with his swim team, Brooks is involved in working the lights for Norman High School’s production of “Once Upon A Mattress,” and Long participates in math and science competitions.

Long said maintaining a social life and being involved in school activities was the hardest part about taking the ACT because most of the time, he had to put academics first.

“I had to have the discipline and drive,” Long said.

Katherine Parker