Cornersville senior scores big

Friday, November 10, 2017
Sam Johnson, a senior at Cornersville School, earned a perfect composite score of 36 on the ACT. Of the more than two million high school students who took the exam this year, fewer than 3,000 accomplished this feat.
Tribune photo by Scott Pearson

Normally getting a 36 on a test isn’t something a student would want to talk about.

However, when the test is the ACT and the highest possible score is a 36, everyone wants to talk to Sam Johnson about it.

The Cornersville School senior received the letter informing him of his perfect achievement at the end of October.

According to ACT, more than two million high school students took the college readiness exam in 2017.

Only 2,760 earned a perfect 36 composite score for the test’s four sections, covering English, math, science, and reading.

Every year, roughly one tenth of one percent of students taking the test manage a 36.

He had to be convinced to even take the exam this time.

“I didn’t want to take it again but I’m glad I did,” said Johnson.

He had taken the ACT twice already, reaching a score of 34, but he said that biology teacher Joy McMasters convinced him to try one more time.

He credited Bulldog Project 21, a twice-a-week ACT preparation program at the school, with helping him with those two extra points.

Johnson was quick to point out how well his class had done overall on the exam, as well.

He said that more than 50 of the roughly 70 students in the senior class had scored over 21, and that the class had raised their ACT scores by an average of 1.6 points between May and October.

He said that he has started getting more letters from universities out-of-state since his perfect store, but is still looking at the same two colleges that he was before.

Johnson will choose between the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

He wants to major in physics with an eye toward a career with NASA or at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“I’m excited to take more science and higher level math classes in college,” he said.

Johnson enrolled at Cornersville in the middle of his sophomore year after moving from Illinois.

Normally, changing schools during high school is a traumatic experience, but Johnson is happy with the way it worked out.

“I’m just thankful for coming to Cornersville,” said Johnson, “because I think they have some of the best teachers in the state.”