Mill Valley junior met his goal: a perfect ACT score

— When Ted Hilk was a freshman at Mill Valley High School, he set a goal for himself - he wanted to get a perfect score on the ACT.

To most, a perfect score of 36 is almost impossible, but Ted was confident.

"I had more or less long suspected that I would be capable of getting it," he said.

Ted took the test for the first time as a freshman and scored a 34. Since he was only two points away, he set his sights on improving his score by one point each year.

As a sophomore, he stayed on course with his goal and scored a 35. As a junior this fall, he finally reached 36.

So how did Ted do it?

Well, he didn't study.

"I didn't study aside from looking over sample questions to become familiar with the format," he said.

However, Ted is advanced in his course work. Carolyn Devane, counselor at Mill Valley, said Ted was taking Algebra II and honors chemistry at the high school when he was an eighth-grader.

Devane described Ted was very self-disciplined and self-motivated.

"He has a lot of natural ability," she said. "He is naturally very, very intelligent."

His perfect score is the first recorded at Mill Valley since the school opened in 2000.

About one out of every 14,000 students tested earns a 36. The national average composite score for the class of 2007 was 21.2 and the average score for a Kansas graduate was a 21. Mill Valley's class of 2007 recorded an average score of 22.8. During the 2006-07 testing year, only 497 students nationwide earned a 36 out of more than 2.4 million tests administered by ACT.

Ted's perfect ACT score would allow him to receive a full four-year scholarship to some colleges.

"Yes, it makes a student more competitive, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee admission especially in Ivy League schools," Devane said.

Ted said he hadn't decided which school he would like to attend.

"At the moment I am keeping it fairly open," he said. "I am, of course, considering applying to a few of the schools in the Ivy League. I would like to go to MIT."

Ted also hasn't decided on a career yet. So far he is considering engineering and corporate law.

In the meantime, Ted is keeping busy with his course work at Mill Valley and his school activities including the robotics team, science Olympiad, quiz bowl, student council, band, jazz band and youth court.

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