In 2018, only about 0.195 percent of 1,914,817 students who took the ACT received a perfect score, according to PrepScholar, and Aledo High School students Madison Bunting and Taylor Yates were among those who achieved a 36 on their ACTs.
Bunting, a senior at AHS, moved to Aledo her seventh-grade year and has been accepted to attend Rice University in Houston.
“I’m really excited about that. I think [the score] definitely help me get in because Rice is more selective and it is an achievement,” Bunting said. “It’s a test and the only reason it matters is for college applications, but there is a lot more to your application than just a number.”
Yates is a junior and moved to Aledo before her freshman year.
“It’s a big relief, I don’t have to take anymore tests and hopefully it will be really helpful in getting scholarships to colleges,” Yates said. “But no more studying for that part.”
Bunting took the ACT in September 2018 and said her involvement in debate helped her achieve that perfect score.
“I do debate and I would attribute that to being the single greatest thing that helped with the score of my test because it teaches you analytical and reasoning skills — not just how to argue, but how to claim an idea, how to defend it and make sure it’s well supported,” Bunting said. “That really helps in the reading section, but also in logical thinking, like math and science.”
Besides that, Bunting said she took the ACT twice and didn’t study at all for the first one.
“I refused to study because I wanted a baseline, like a science experiment,” Bunting said. “So the intent was I take the test once with no studying and then I’ll take it again and will study and I got the 36 and thought, ‘I’ll take that.’”
Bunting is also in academic UIL and just completed district and is also in the iSchool Initiative organization.
“It’s an organization where we, I don’t want to say we improve the school, but I guess that’s kind of what we do,” Bunting said. “Like we helped create Flex time, which is a 30-minute study hall, club meeting time.”
Yates is involved in several AHS organizations.
“I am in newspaper, NHS, Leading Ladies, Environment Club, UIL academics, social studies, science and journalism,” Yates said. “It’s good to have something to do with your time that’s not too school-related — hanging out with people and doing things that you really enjoy without worrying about homework constantly.”
Yates said she only took the ACT once and receive her perfect score.
“I took a practice test and then I studied up on some of the math subjects that I noticed that I didn’t really remember,” Yates said.
Before graduating in May, Bunting just wants to stay focused.
“Just survive the rest of the school year and to not let senioritis get to me and kill my grades,” Bunting said.
Bunting said Rice University doesn’t make students declare a major until their sophomore year, but she’s leaning towards a double major in the math and science fields.
“The major I’m looking at is called computational and applied mathematics, that’s the fancy name, but it’s just applied math and then some sort of sociology, psychology, cognitive science, that way I can do numbers and also help people,” Bunting said. “I feel like that’s really marketable for jobs.”
Yates said she’s not sure what she wants to do after high school at this time, but is eyeing certain colleges.
“I really don’t know, but I’ve looked at some colleges — Vanderbilt [University], I have my eye on University of Texas and [Texas] A&M, Trinity maybe, but I really don’t know yet,” Yates said.
Yates still has more than a year left of high school and said she will continue to focus on her grades.
“I just want to keep my grades up and I would like to get some AP credits done, get good grades on those tests, and that’s about it,” Yates said. “Just keep going until the end.”
AHS Principal Dan Peterson said what Bunting and Yates accomplished is extraordinary.
“We are so thrilled for these outstanding Aledo High School students,” Peterson said. “This is a rare accomplishment and speaks to the level of dedication, hard work and commitment by Taylor and Madison. To have two students accomplish this at the same high school in the same school year is extraordinary and very exciting.”