Wayzata H.S. Students Earn Perfect ACT Scores

Seven high school students have earned perfect scores on the ACT exam.

Hannah Devens, Megan He, Paul Keller, Doyeon Kim, Abram Sanderson, Jordan Sell and Roy Zhao, seniors at Wayzata High School (WHS), earned perfect scores of 36 on the 2012 ACT exam. 

Hannah Devens said she used a practice book from the library, but found her high school career classwork to be the most helpful in preparing to take the ACT exam. Currently she is taking Advanced Placement (AP) statistics, AP physics, AP human geography and AP literature.

She has been involved with the school photo club for two years, volunteers with the WHS Youth Extending Services (YES) club and is in the National Honor Society. She is also on the track team and ran on the varsity team last year in the 4x100 relay event. Devens also plays the piano.

Notre Dame is her top choice for next year, but she hasn’t decided yet what her major will be. She said she is interested in owning her own business in the future.

Megan He took one practice test to see what the exam would be like. She said she scored a 32 on the practice test and was surprised when she earned a 36 on her official test.

She credited her coursework at WHS for the basis of her knowledge for the test and said the practice test was more to prepare her for what the test would be like. This year, He said she has a light course load and is enrolled in AP literature, AP statistics, AP Chinese and AP physics and will also take macro economics, micro economics and psychology. She is also a teacher’s assistant for AP European history teacher Jeff Prondzinski.

Outside of academics, He is involved with Quiz Bowl, Science Olympiad and Speech Team. She had been on the synchronized swim team, but stopped her involvement on the team after her sophomore year. She volunteers outside of school with a paraprofessional in the district during the summer in the district’s STEP program for students with disabilities. She also volunteers with the WHS YES Club.

Her top choices for college next year include Stanford, Cornell, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in a food science major and considers herself a passionate baker.

Paul Keller said he took the ACT exam for the first time in seventh grade for the Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search, but didn’t take any practice tests prior to his perfect score. During his senior year he is taking AP composition, AP comparative government, AP physics, American Government, linear algebra, differential equations, modern problems and Spanish 4.

Outside of academics, Keller performs saxophone, French horn and piano. He is in the WHS jazz band, concert band and marching band.

His top choices for college next year include Carlton College, Grinnell, Kenyon College, and Oberlin College, but his dream school is Princeton. He said if is accepted to Princeton, he will definitely attend. He plans on majoring in physics and would like to earn a doctorate and become a college professor. 

Doyeon Kim took the test three times earning a 33 on each of the first two tests. She said her motivation to take the test a third time was that she felt she could improve her score by at least one more point. She said she wasn’t expecting a 36 and said she didn’t practice or study prior to her final exam. She also credited her coursework at WHS for preparing her for the exam. She is taking AP physics, AP calculus, AP sociology, AP psychology and micro economics this year.

Outside of academics, Kim plays violin in the Community Youth Orchestra and the WHS Pit orchestra for the fall musical. She also volunteers at both the Plymouth and Maple Grove libraries and with the WHS YES club.

Her top choices for college next year include University of Southern California, Northwestern University and New York University. She’s undecided on what her major will be.

Abram Sanderson said he didn’t prepare for the exam and did not take any practice tests. He credited his normal coursework at WHS for preparing him for the exam. He is currently in AP physics, AP literature and AP composition.

Outside of academics, Sanderson performs trumpet in the Greater Twin Cities Youth Orchestra and WHS Pit Orchestra, and is one of the three drum majors for the WHS Marching Band. He is also on the WHS Math Team, Science Olympiad Team and the WHS First Robotics Team.

His top choices for college include California Institute of Technology, Harvey Mudd College, Northwestern University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Minnesota. He’s interested in degrees in math and computer science and would like to enter the field of computer analytics working on optimizing algorithms.

Jordan Sell said he bought a study book to prepare for the ACT exam and credited his normal class schedule with preparing him for the exam. During his senior year, Sell is taking AP physics, AP composition and AP chemistry.

Outside of academics, Sell plays corner back on the WHS Varsity Football Team and center field on the WHS Varsity Baseball Team. Sell also volunteers his time at a day care, North Memorial Hospital and with the Plymouth Wayzata Youth Baseball Association.

His top choices for college next year include Stanford, Duke, Northwestern University and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is interested in a major in the field of biology and plans on attending medical school. He said he’s interested in becoming a pediatrician because of his interests in human medical science and working with children.

Roy Zhao said he took a lot of practice tests on his own to prepare for the exam. He said he didn’t take the class and felt the practice tests on their own were enough preparation. During the week prior to taking his ACT exam, Zhao said he did a test a day. He said he didn’t take the full test each day because he felt comfortable with the math and science portions, but focused on the reading and writing sections. Zhao also credited AP composition with preparing him greatly for the reading and writing sections of the ACT exam.

Zhao is currently enrolled in the Post Secondary Education Option and is taking classes his senior year at the University of Minnesota. He is enrolled in multi-variable calculus, computer science, organic chemistry, sociology and piano lessons. Outside of academics, Zhao is on the WHS Math Team, Science Olympiad Team and the WHS First Robotics Team.

His top choices for college include Ivy League schools and he plans to major in mathematics and computer science; math because he likes it so much, and computer science for his career path. Zhao said he is interested in computer programming and has already done some work with artificial intelligence.


(Information provided by a Wayzata School District press release.) 



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