Cretin-Derham Hall student scores perfect 36 on ACT - KMSP-TV

Cretin-Derham Hall student scores perfect 36 on ACT

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Cretin-Derham Hall student Maria Neuzil scored a perfect 36 on her ACT -- a feat less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the test accomplish each year. Even more impressive? She did it on the first try.

"When I first read it, I kind of did a double-take because I wasn't expecting to get a 36," Neuzil admitted.

Cretin-Derham Hall is known for its famous alumni -- athletes, astronaut Heide Stfanyshyn Piper, and Edward Cleary, chief judge of Minnesota's Court of appeals, to name a few. In fact, Neuzil is one of three students at the school who aced the ACT in the last two years.

While Neuzil clearly takes her studies seriously, the junior also plays clarinet in the band, made the varsity swim team and is taking part in two school plays.

"People might think I'm shy and quiet, but I'm actually kind of strange once you get to know me," she said. "I have a lot of interests I'm really passionate about."

Now, she has another accomplishment she can certainly brag about.

"I guess I can use it as bragging rights if the ACT is still used in 20 years. I can always tell my kids, 'Hey, I got a 36, so you better.'"

Even so, Neuzil admits she isn't sure she could top the test again.

"I wasn't expecting to get a 36, so I'm not sure if it's something I can do consistently or if it was just a lucky day," she said.

Either way, the teen says she knows she'll continue to work hard because she knows earning top marks on one test alone isn't a golden ticket.

"People are definitely smart in different ways, and taking a test and getting a perfect score is definitely different from succeeding in real life," Neuzil said.

Nationwide, the number of students who ace the test varies from year to year, but according to that statistic, of the 1.8 million students who took the ACT last year, just 1,162 students earned a 36.

High school students typically take the ACT or SAT depending on their college preferences, but ACT test scores are generally accepted by all major U.S. 4-year colleges and universities.

Read more: Minnesota No. 1 in ACT scores for 8th straight year

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