How do you get a perfect score on the ACT?
The Bearcats football team isn’t the only perfect thing at Aledo High School.
In one of the rarest academic accomplishments to be found, not one, but two Aledo High School students registered perfect scores of 36 on the ACT college prep exam this school year.
And now they each, in their own humble way, want to do their part to make this a more perfect world.
Senior Madison Bunting plans to attend Rice University in the fall and major in computation/applied math and/or sociology. Taylor Yates, a junior, hasn’t picked a college yet — a project she plans to concentrate on this summer — but is considering becoming an attorney.
How rare is their achievement? According to PrepScholar, less than 0.2 percent of students nationwide posted a perfect score.
The odds of that happening twice at the same school in the same academic year? There might be a better chance of making the Olympic swim team (0.0013% for the 2016 Games).
“You hear of people doing this, but I didn’t think it was that rare,” said Bunting who was also AHS valedictorian this year. “We were at lunch one day and I got an email. I looked at it in disbelief.”
And neither was aware of the other’s accomplishment until the school broke the news. Along with being smart, both are known for being humble and private.
“My gut reaction is to downplay, and I don’t normally talk about grades or test scores,” Bunting said.
But then, perfection is hard to hide.
“It is kind of cool to be in this small percentage,” Yates said. “But like Madison, I’m also not a spotlight person.”
Aledo Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn said their accomplishment is indicative of the community’s mindset.
“We have a group of children and young adults who have this expectation of excellence around them,” Bohn said. “We have kids who believe they can do anything. It’s very pervasive in our community.
“And these two are pretty amazing.”
Both come from families that stress the importance of education as each of their parents have master’s degrees. Bunting’s mother has one in social work and works in child ministries, while her dad has one in education and is a superintendent at a charter school. Yates’ parents have masters in psychology and business, respectively
Bunting said she considered several other elite universities before Rice won her heart during a visit.
“Five minutes in and I was sold,” she said.
Yates is considering Vanderbilt, along with Trinity and Richmond, she said.
Bunting said she is “interested in explaining how the world works, but also human interaction.
“It’s less that I think I can solve things, but if I study I think I can get a better understanding. Why do certain people become leaders in certain roles, and why do some follow? Why do groups behave like they do?”
Though not one who likes attention, Yates understands she is nonetheless considering a profession that could put her in the spotlight a lot if she is anywhere close to perfect in that arena. But she said she has seen that it can also be rewarding in a number of ways.
“My grandpa was a lawyer, and a good one,” she said. “He enjoyed it, so I think I could too.”