Davidson High School celebrated last week as another student earned a perfect score on the ACT college entrance exam — the fourth Mobile County Public School student to do so in 2018.
Payton Emmertson is actually the third Davidson student to earn the perfect score of 36, which school officials say will greatly improve her chances of earning college scholarships and being accepted into prestigious institutions.
Emmertson had taken the test three times already and had gotten close to the perfect score on her most recent attempt, but fell just short at 34. It turns out the fourth time’s the charm for the DHS senior.
“When I opened the score, I started crying,” she said. “It was such a confidence-booster, and it helped me realize I actually can do stuff if I set my mind to it.”
While, there might not seem to be much of difference between a score of 34 and score of 36, Emmertson said when you get to the highest scores, each point means more potential scholarships. She said she also wanted to earn the perfect ACT score “to prove that [she] could.”
A member of the computer science pathway in Davidson’s Engineering Pathways Integrated Curriculum (EPIC) program, Emmertson says she plans to study computer science at Brigham Young University in Utah.
According to Emmertson, there’s no one strategy for studying for the ACT that works for every student, but encouraged other students aiming to improve their scores to “just keep practicing.”
“What I did was I practiced over and over again trying to get the time down because that’s what I struggled with most,” Emmertson said. “Whenever kids ask me, ‘what can I do to get my score up,’ I tell them to just keep practicing. You can check out the strategies, but try them on the practice test to see which strategies work best for you.”
Two of Emmertson’s classmates at Davidson, Isabel Bela and Joseph Stauter, also earned perfect scores on the ACT as juniors this past spring. Together, they join Murphy junior Griffin Noble as the four MCPSS students who’ve obtained a perfect score since August 2017.
When asked about his school’s recent success on the ACT, Davidson Principal Jason Richardson credited his faculty but also the students themselves.
“We’ve got a dedicated faculty that’s focused on learning and teaching the students,” he said. “We’ve also got a lot of great kids here. We’ve got roughly 200 kids in our [International Baccalaureate] program and over 500 EPIC students.”
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