Southwest student earns perfect ACT score
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY — It’s a test the vast majority of high school juniors take in preparation for higher education.
Getting a perfect score, however, is reserved for a select few — including Southwest junior Grace Zhang.
The 16-year-old recently earned the highest possible composite ACT score of 36 – a rarity with less than 0.5% of test-takers earning a perfect ACT score each year.
Zhang said for her, preparation for the test actually began many years ago.
“I think that preparation begins in freshman year with good studying habits and knowledge retention,” she said. “This isn’t to say that the ACT is based on vast content which is only possible through three years of intense study. Instead, because of its placement as a standardized exam, it must measure a basis of skills and how students can derive further conclusions from their base content knowledge. Thus, I placed importance on accuracy and strength of subject foundations.”
Zhang said her favorite subject in school is “of course math.”
“Math is how we have chosen to attempt to quantify the things we observe in the world around us,” she said.
Zhang said she plans to major in math after high school, alongside plans of a pre-med track.
“Hearing how my mother (who is a doctor) interacts with her patients has stuck with me since I was a little kid,” she said. “I want to help make life more comfortable for people.”
Zhang said she also likes English literature, which she said is a favorite because of the openness of the subject.
“There’s so many ways to interpret the same piece, and how the author develops their intent throughout their work,” she said.
Both inside and out of school, Zhang is involved with the orchestra, where she plays the cello.
“Being involved with the orchestra has given me the opportunity to meet some of the best people I’ll ever know,” she said.
In her free time, Zhang said she loves reading manga and watching anime.
“My favorite series at the moment is Blue Period, which takes its name from Pablo Picasso’s iconic paintings,” she said. “I also like to listen to Kpop and watch C-dramas (Chinese dramas). I’ve had the incredible fortune of seeing the Kpop girl group Red Velvet in concert.”
Zhang said none of what she’s accomplished would have been possible without her supportive family — first generation immigrants.
“My immediate family consists of me, my sister and my parents,” she said. “My sister Kelley is currently studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in chemistry. My mom, who I had mentioned earlier, is Dr. Dongmei Chen at the BayCare Eye Clinic. My dad is Haojiang Zhang, and he keeps the whole house together.”
Grace Zhang said she and her sister have been attached at the hip since the day she was born until the day she left for college.
“Overall, my family has been incredibly supportive with me through everything,” she said. “It is because of their unwavering love I can continue to make an effort and try my best.”