Kenton Co. junior has scores her second "Perfect 36" on the ACT exam; less than 1% of U.S. students achieve perfect score just once

Community Press & Recorder, Fort Mitchell, April 25, 2016

Simon Kenton student scores perfect ACT twice
by Melissa Stewart

INDEPENDENCE - Chelsea Russell has conquered a feat few students ever will.

She scored a 36 – a perfect score – on the ACT college readiness test... twice. Very few students, less than 1 percent of students who take the ACT in the U.S., earn a perfect score.

Chelsea took her first ACT, as many students do, at the end of her sophomore year. She wanted to establish guidelines on how to prepare for taking the exam the following March. The state requires all students to take the ACT in March of their junior year.

“It is exciting,” the Simon Kenton High School junior said. Chelsea didn’t do much to prepare outside of the classroom. Instead, she relied on her determination.

“I had to stay focused and keep my brain on task,” she said. “I did that by setting a goal of getting finished with the exam. You have to get all the way through and be as efficient as you can in the amount of time (three hours) you are given. Finishing is the most important thing. I was a little nervous, but I knew I could do it.”

The second round, she wasn’t as nervous.

“Really, having scored a 36 the first time was relieving,” she said. “The pressure was not as high. It didn’t have to be quite as perfect.”

Still she set her focus on finishing and she finished well. Simon Kenton Principal John Popham couldn’t be more proud.

“Chelsea is a model student,” he said. “It’s one thing to be gifted academically, and she is, but she also pushes herself. She’s always challenging herself. She’s very motivated. It’s a great accomplishment to get a perfect score once, but to do it twice is amazing.”

Chelsea, 16, of Independence, enjoys sharing her feat with potential colleges as she turns in admission applications. However, she’s unsure what she’ll be studying.

“I don’t know if I’ll go into performing or have an intellectual major or maybe a bit of both,” she said.

An active member of the drama program at Simon Kenton, Chelsea was recently selected to participate in the 2016 Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts. She’s also a member of the high school’s academic team. Outside of school, she sings and plays the viola for a local school of music.

“I love that tests and math have definite answers,” she said. “But, I also love the creativity and flexibility of the arts.”

Chelsea said she finds inspiration from her parents and teachers, “those people who follow their passions in life.”

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