Destrehan student lands perfect score on ACT

When Destrehan High School junior Ava Rockefeller went online to check her ACT score, she didn’t expect much – she felt like the testing day wasn’t her best effort.

That thought was one of the few things Rockefeller’s had wrong recently, as it turns out.

The test score she discovered waiting for her was a 36 – the highest composite score one can reach, and one attained by just 1 percent of all students.

The ACT composite score is an average of one’s four section scores for English, math, reading and science. 36 is the highest number that can be reached in each subject – essentially, it’s a perfect score.

Rockefeller didn’t see it coming.

“I thought I would do really bad on it,” she said. “I really wasn’t expecting anything great.”

In fact, while e-mails had gone out to students to inform them of their score, she hadn’t received one. She went to check online because she was a bit bored – and found welcome news, to say the least.

“My dad wants to tell everyone all about it,” Rockefeller said of her proud papa. “He always finds a way to fit that in.”

This wasn’t her first high score. As a seventh grader, she scored a 23. And on a more recent attempt, she hit another exceptional mark of 34.

“I never expected to move up from that … it’s a pretty cool feeling,” she said.

Rockefeller credited the teachers who guided her through ACT preparation since her freshman year.

“All that instructional time for all those years and leading up to it definitely helped a ton,” she said. “And besides the actual subjects, you have to learn to do well with time.”

Indeed, with a timed test, finding the right answers is just part of the equation – finding them quickly is just as vital.

“You learn different strategies. Reading passages in a different order or in a way that works better for you … different things work for different people depending on how you test,” Rockefeller said.

Practice makes perfect, of course – literally, in this case.

“We practiced multiple times a week,” she said.

This time brought even a bit of a curveball in that the test was taken online, whereas she was used to the traditional method.

“I had to edit a few of my strategies, especially on the math section,” Rockefeller said. “English and reading I got through quickly, but math and science I felt like I kind of had to rush through.”

Rockefeller is planning on applying to Rice where she would like to study architecture. She also has interest in Georgia Tech, Louisiana Tech and Virginia Tech – one would think the interest will be quite mutual given her academic and testing accomplishments.

Architecture is something that’s caught her interest for awhile.

“I’ve been in talented art and I’m in AP art now,” she said. “And I’ve always been pretty good at math. So it combines those two areas. Plus, outside of school, I’m always noticing different pieces of architecture. I think it’s something I’d enjoy.”

She serves as secretary of the National Honor Society at Destrehan and president of the school’s film club.


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