Eleven students at Baton Rouge Magnet High School have achieved perfect scores of 36 on the ACT, an unusually high number of young scholars to do so at just one school.
The Capital City’s flagship public high school announced five of these students earlier this month, with the most recent announcement on Wednesday. The latest members of this elite club are seniors Erina Buchholz and Christian Fontenot, junior Robert Chumbley, and sophomores Grace Qian and Krishna Pochana.
The six other current students at the 2825 Government St. school who previously earned 36 on the ACT are Priya Balamurugan, Riley Devall, Ziying He and Orianne Luo, all seniors; and Brian Tsai and Anusha Zaman, both juniors.
Ed Colby, a spokesman for the Iowa-based ACT Inc., the publisher of the college placement exam, told The Advocate in January, before the latest announcements, that it’s rare to see so many perfect scorers at one school.
Only one-tenth of 1 percent of the 2 million students across the country taking the test are able to score that high, and in Louisiana the rate is half that, Colby said. In the class of 2017, only 29 of the state’s 55,614 graduating seniors earned a perfect 36, he said.
For graduating seniors Erina Buchholz and Ziying He, their success on the ACT has helped land them yet another prestigious honor: They were named Presidential Scholar semifinalists.
Each year up to 161 of the nation’s highest achieving graduating seniors are recognized by the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, established in 1964. It’s invitation only, but it is open to students from both public and private schools. The students are judged, in part, on their performance on the ACT and SAT tests.
The students selected will receive an expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. in June when they are presented the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.
Buchholz and He were originally two of61 candidates in Louisiana for the honor. There are six other semifinalists from the state: Alix C. Basden, Lafayette High School; Hailey A. Rowbatham, St. Scholastica Academy in Covington; Dakota W. Simpson, Caddo Parish Magnet High School in Shreveport; Henry C. Wietfeldt, Lusher Charter School in New Orleans; Diensn G. Xing, Haynes Academy of Advanced Studies in Metairie; and Anna Y. Yue, Northshore High School in Slidell.