Earning a perfect score on the ACT college entrance exam is rare. For two students from the same class at the same school to do so in the same year is almost unheard of.
Davidson High juniors Isabel Bela and Joseph Stauter each scored a perfect 36 on the ACT, an accomplishment that typically helps students secure acceptance in their choice of colleges. Davidson also had a student earn a perfect score last year, giving the school three in the past two years.
Both students credited the education they’re getting at Davidson for their achievement.
“I really feel like Davidson High School, and even my educational experiences before that at Phillips and E.R. Dickson Elementary, really prepared me to know the material it would take to make a 36,” Stauter said. “The first time I took the ACT, it was my sophomore year and I made a 35, so I already knew I had a strong educational foundation.”
Stauter said he was surprised he got a perfect score, and said he focused on time management — answering questions quickly — in his preparation. Bela, a member of Davidson’s championship Hi-Q team, credited her coursework in Davidson’s International Baccalaureate program.
“I would say the IB classes at Davidson are by far the best preparation for the ACT,” Bela said. “Through these classes, we learn so much in our math, English and science curriculum that I felt like everything we covered in class was setting me up for the 36. We did a little bit of ACT practice, but just the general day-to-day learning in class is what really helped.”
Both students have an impressive list of college choices. Bela said she is choosing between Rice, Texas A&M, Auburn, Georgia Tech and Mississippi State, and plans to major in something relating to biology. Stauter said he expects to major in chemical or civil engineering at Rice Georgia Tech, Columbia or UAB.
“We are extremely pleased with their accomplishments,” Davidson Principal Lewis Copeland said. “These are good students, they’re attending a good school with a very demanding curriculum with teachers who really stretch them and, we think, get the most out of them.
“Thirty-six is rare. I don’t know of a school that’s had two in one class, but we’ve had two in three years and we really are proud of that.”