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Kirkwood High School Student Earns Perfect Score on the ACT

Kirkwood High School (KHS) senior Emma Harrell earned the highest possible ACT Composite score of 36. Nationally, the actual number of students earning the top score varies from year to year, on average, less than one-tenth of 1% of students who take the ACT earns the top score.

Emma previously attended Tillman Elementary School and Nipher Middle School in the Kirkwood School District (KSD). She is a member of the KHS French Club, French Honor Society, and the National Honor Society. 

Emma earned her perfect score in September 2018. After previously earning a 34 on the test, she credits reviewing geometry and area and volume equations prior to taking the most recent test with helping her secure the 36.

Emma has many favorite memories thus far as a KHS student. Last spring break, Emma enjoyed a trip to France with fellow KHS students that was led by KHS French Teacher Madame Kalfus. “In France, in Montmartre, we climbed the steps and saw an amazing view of Paris,” said Emma. Madame Kalfus is also one of Emma’s favorite teachers at KHS. “She makes learning French very easy and fun,” said Emma. Her love of the French language and culture has Emma thinking about a minor in French next year in college.

 On the KHS campus, she loves the pomp and circumstance around the traditional Turkey Week festivities. “I really enjoy the Turkey Day hallways and decorating. Last year’s theme of “Stranger Things’ is my favorite so far.”

 Upon graduation, she is considering majoring in pre-medicine. She credits the hands-on learning in Dr. Autry’s chemistry class with her interest in science. “Dr. Autry shows us how chemistry happens. One of my favorite lessons was when we used AgNO3 (Silver nitrate) that stained our hands purple.”

 Next week, she is off to the Northeast to explore college campuses with her mother, Katie Harrell. “I’m looking at a lot of colleges. I’m very interested in visiting Brown next week,” said Emma. Emma is also the daughter of Jamie Harrell, and the sister of Georgia Harrell (KHS ’17).

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading, and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1–36, and a student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take the optional ACT writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT Composite score.

All major US colleges accept ACT scores. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.