14 Louisville students earned perfect ACT scores at duPont Manual High School

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There's always that kid in class who knows the right answer: the one raising a hand, even when the questions are obscure.

But at duPont Manual High School, it's not just one kid. There are at least 114 of them. That's the number of students who earned a perfect score on at least one part of the ACT, and fourteen students got a perfect composite score.

The ACT is the gateway into college, a test that causes hours of worry for millions of students each year.

Many of the top-notch test-takers from the high school in Old Louisville brought their own approach to the exam. For senior Diya Mathur, it was repetition.

"I've lost count of the number of times I've taken ACT," Mathur said." I think it's around seven or eight. I've been taking it since 7th grade."

She has an ACT "super score" of 36, which means she received perfect marks in each subject except science, but not in the same test setting.

All students in Kentucky take the ACT during their junior year of high school. It's used to measure how many kids in a school or the state graduate ready for a career or college.

"I wasn't  expecting to get a 36 on the science part," said Manual junior Alan Pascua, who had a composite overall score of 33. "We're taking the mandatory (ACT test) later this year, so I'm going to do a little studying up, and I'm hoping to get a better score."

His ambition speaks volumes as his current composite score of 33 out of a possible 36 falls in the top tier of all test-takers.

Senior Joseph Minatel scored perfect on the reading and english portions of the ACT test and holds a composite score of 35. He's going into the Navy ROTC after graduation but undecided on college. He's applied to schools including Brown, Cornell, Yale and Notre Dame.

"I started just recognizing the patterns of the test after practicing so much," Minatel said. "The strategies and what the question wanted."

And then there's Will Morgan, who aced the entire test in every subject.

"We have this amazing environment where everyone is trying to succeed, both in and out of the classroom, and just to be a part of it -- to be pushed by my peers to do better -- is really just a neat experience," he said.

You don't have to be a math wiz to know this is an elite class. Out of 2 million ACT test takers in 2016, only 2,200 received a perfect composite score.

JCPS officials said fourteen of those perfect scores are at duPont Manual High School.

"I crammed the morning of -- instead of the night before -- and it worked," laughed senior Nia Spiller, who received a score of 36 in reading and has already been awarded more than $40,000 in scholarship offers.

She has yet to decide on a college, vacillating between Western Michigan University and Indiana State University. She wants to be a pilot.

For these students, the books are a business and the score pays their way to college.

"It basically depends on the programs and the scholarships, but I've been gratefully accepted to a few good schools, so I'm excited about that," Marthur said.

Schools like Harvard.

These students have mastered the task of the standardized test, and they have some words of wisdom for anyone else getting ready to take the ACT.

"Just take the test over and over again, and make sure your timing is down," Minatel said. "Make sure you know what all the questions are like."

The next ACT exam is April 8. Registration is due by March 3.

For more information on the ACT, click here.

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