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Ford student earns perfect 36 on ACT

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 12, 2015




Henry Ford II High School senior Daniel Mathew recently returned home from a summer apprentice program with the University of Wyoming’s Department of Neuroscience. But he had already proved his brainpower several months prior, when he earned a perfect score on the ACT college entrance exam.

Mathew, 16, from Shelby Township, took the ACT exam in the February testing window and scored the highest possible score of 36. The test examines student acumen in math, English, reading and science.

Citing a report from ACT Inc., the Utica Community Schools district noted in a press release that only about 0.076 percent of more than 1.8 million test takers scored a 36. The Class of 2014’s average score was 21.

Mathew said it wasn’t his first time taking the ACT, adding that he earlier scored a 34.

“I thought that was definitely a very good score,” he said. “I wanted to see if I could do any better. I managed to score a little bit better.”

He said he was excited when he found out in March that he’d earned the perfect score.

“It was a lot of emotion,” he said. “It was mostly just relief that it was finally over. A lot of hard work finally paid off.”

In order to do well on the test, Mathew stressed the importance of not being too nervous.

“Especially when I was just going through questions, sometimes your mind goes ahead of your hands,” he said. “Just breathe and take it slow.”

According to UCS, Mathew is involved in the National Honor Society and Health Occupations Students of America clubs, and he also is on the ThunderChickens robotics team. Besides attending Ford, he has simultaneously attended the Utica Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology.

Mathew said he just started working on college applications, and his ACT score will broaden horizons and open up options. He said he is keeping his future career options open right now, though he said he enjoys the medical field and biomedical engineering.

According to UCS spokesman Tim McAvoy, a UCS student has earned a perfect ACT score during each of the last three years. Ford Principal Ken Cucchi said in an emailed statement that Mathew is an exemplary student.

“He is a leader in our school, as evidenced by the statewide Health Occupations Students of America position he will serve this year,” he said. “He cares deeply about his community and his fellow students. He is a great ambassador for our school and district.”

Learn more about Utica Community Schools by visiting or by calling (586) 797-1000.