Olathe North High School principal Jason Herman would be the first to say that there are a lot of smart kids roaming the halls of his school. Yet, even he was taken aback when he learned that three of his students earned a perfect score on their ACT exam during the same testing date in February.
Junior Brian Beach, freshman Wade Boohar and junior Anchal Gupta all scored a perfect 36 on the exam, a stunning accomplishment given that less than 0.1 percent of students nationally achieve.
All three students are enrolled in the Distinguished Scholars Academy at Olathe North, one of the Olathe Public Schools 21st Century Academies.
While Herman was shocked to hear that there were three perfect scores on one testing day, he wasn’t necessarily surprised to learn that his students had been so successful.
“I was at a conference out of town and my lead counselor sent me a text, saying we got three perfect scores,” Herman said. “ I am not overly surprised to learn of it, because we usually average about three or four a year over the last three to five years but we’ve never had three at one time.”
This marks the fourth perfect ACT score by an Olathe North student this school year. Senior Annabelle Darby scored a 36 on the exam last October.
It also brings the total number of high school students in the Olathe Public Schools who have earned a perfect score on the ACT this year to seven. School district officials say the achievement has them beaming with pride.
“We are very proud of these seven students and their accomplishment of achieving a perfect score on the ACT exam,” Executive Director of General Administration/Secondary Education Dr. Jim McMullen said in a written statement. “To have one is special, let alone seven.”
McMullen also pointed out another reason why the accomplishment is so meaningful for the school district.
“One interesting fact that we are extremely proud of is that all seven students have been enrolled in the Olathe Public Schools since kindergarten,” McMullen said. “Their success is due to their own personal determination, great family support, and a strong educational foundation provided by their amazing teachers from kindergarten to high school.”
All three Olathe North students who recently earned a 36 on the exam are active in extracurricular activities in addition to their rigorous academic schedule.
Beach participates in cross country, track and field, orchestra, and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Gupta is involved in debate, DECA, Olathe Youth Court, dance team, and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Boohar, the youngest Olathe North student this year to earn a perfect ACT score, is active in student council, DECA, debate and forensics, Scholar Bowl, Science Olympiad, and is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society.
Herman said even he and his counseling staff didn’t anticipate a freshman earning a perfect score on the test.
“This was a shock,” Herman said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
Herman is quick to point out that neither he nor his staff takes credit for the perfect ACT scores earned by his students.
Because Olathe North draws students from all nine middle schools in the district, Herman said he knows it’s taken a lot of people from all over the school district and the community to help prepare these students for their academic success.
He said ultimately the credit goes to the students who have high expectations for their academics.
“These kids absolutely amaze me and I am very proud of these students and their accomplishments,” Herman said.