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Central Junior Achieves Perfect ACT Score

Thomas Ottinger takes several college level courses already. And earlier this month he added a new accolade.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) You could say that math and science are in Thomas Ottinger's blood.

"My father's a physicist," the Central High School junior said.  "He has a PhD in Physics.  My mom has her Masters in Statistics.  I think it's statistics in actuarial science.  So, that's where I get that from."

Ottinger takes AP classes at Central High School. He also takes dual-credit courses at Missouri Western State University.

His Monday begins at Central, in AP Physics. But even though he's only in his junior year, Ottinger has achieved something none of his classmates have achieved, something that only a handful of people his age in the entire country achieve: a perfect 36 score on the ACT.

"It's huge.  It's extremely rare to do," said Kim Schank, Ottinger's counselor.

For perspective, nearly 1.8 million students took the ACT in 2013. Less than 1,200 were perfect scores. Of the nearly 50,000 Missouri teenagers who took the test last year, 44 of them got the perfect 36. The average composite score in Missouri was 21.6.

"I'm not one that's going to pinpoint and say that such and such is a good score and anything below that you can do anything.  That's just not the case," Schank said.  "You have to look at the student as an individual, what their goals are, and what they're capable of doing."

For a student who is used to high level math and equations, the perfect score looks pretty good.

"I was really happy and my parents were really happy and my elder sister was not very happy," Ottinger said.  "[My sister] got a 35 as a junior.  That's the score she has now.  So I beat her, and she was mad."

And that's a good kind of sibling rivalry.

Ottinger says he hopes to attend Brigham Young University, and major in actuarial science.
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