UCS student achieves perfect score on SAT

By: Kara Szymanski | C&G Newspapers | Published May 25, 2021

 Alexander Hughes, of Clinton Township and the Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies, found out he received a perfect SAT score in mid-to-late October.

Alexander Hughes, of Clinton Township and the Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies, found out he received a perfect SAT score in mid-to-late October.

Photo provided by Tim McAvoy


SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA/STERLING HEIGHTS — A Utica Community Schools student earned a perfect score on his SAT recently and is looking to aim for even higher goals soon.

Alexander Hughes, of Clinton Township, who is a senior at the Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies in Sterling Heights, achieved this difficult accomplishment this school year.

Hughes said in an email that he found out he received the perfect score in mid-to-late October and was very excited.

“I was, naturally, very excited when I found out I got the score. I had been concerned about doing well enough to get into some of my top-choice colleges, and so clearing the score barriers for those schools was a relief,” he said.

He took the SAT in late September and then again in early October. He scored the 1600 on the first exam, but he did not have the result back by the time he took the second test.

Shaun Greene-Beebe, the principal of the Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies, said a perfect score doesn’t happen often.

“This type of exceptional performance is extremely rare. Less than 1% of students earn a perfect score on the SAT,” she said via email.

She said the school is extremely proud of Hughes’ perfect SAT score.

“Our SAT composite score for this year’s senior class is 1275-1300, so a perfect 1600 adds another layer of enthusiasm for the entire school community,” she said.

Greene-Beebe said she wasn’t surprised that Hughes was able to get a perfect score.

“In the four years that I have known Alex, I can honestly say I’m not surprised. If I had to identify anyone to earn a perfect score, Alex would be at the top of the list. He has been a distinguished scholar since his freshman year. He is conscientious and dedicated to his studies. When Alex sets a goal, he won’t stop until he achieves it. The sky’s the limit for him,” she said.

Hughes said that when he saw his results, he had a mixture of good feelings.

“When I saw the results, it was really a combination of excitement and relief. Excitement about how high the score was and relief that it would allow me to get into the college of my dreams,” he said.

For those about to take the college entrance exam, Hughes said he has three pieces of advice, starting with taking advantage of practice tests.

“Those practice tests were definitely the most valuable component of my studying; getting familiar with the ways in which the questions are written is important. I’m also an avid reader, and I think reading quality writing every day helped with the language portions. Don’t be afraid to take the test multiple times,” he said.

He said he wasn’t too worried about passing the SAT, but he still worried a little bit, of course.

“I had done well on the PSAT, so I wasn’t incredibly worried. However, I did run through a number of practice tests. We also went over additional reading and writing questions in English class. I attended a short class outside of school on how to write the essay portion, but that is scored separately from the 1600, and I didn’t take an outside course for the main portion of the exam,” he said.

Greene-Beebe said that, when a student attains a perfect SAT score, the student’s college application rises to the top, gaining a competitive edge over other applicants. Admission into elite or selective colleges and universities becomes more likely. Additionally, a student scoring a perfect score is sure to receive more scholarship offers. The 1600 can supersede transcript grades or GPA. In short, it enhances the student’s overall academic profile.  

She said that, for those preparing to take the test, set a plan and execute it.  

“Enroll in an SAT prep class like Khan Academy, take practice assessments (i.e., PSAT 8, PSAT 9, PSAT 10, NMSQT) to familiarize yourself with the style and format of the SAT. Finally, read subject area/content material, read informational text, read literature and read for enjoyment,” she said.

Hughes said the most difficult part of the SAT was reading.

“Some of the questions tend toward the interpretative, which left me feeling nervous. In contrast, for example, the math questions have clear-cut answers as long as you know the necessary techniques,” he said.

He said he still didn’t expect to get the score he did.

“I had gotten perfect scores on the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and NMSQT, so I certainly thought it was possible. However, walking out of the exam, I figured I had missed at least a few questions — I wasn’t expecting this score,” he said.

He said he had unique experiences at his UCS schools, attending Morgan and Messmore elementary schools, Davis Junior High School, and GLK-UAIS. Hughes will now begin his next chapter after attending Utica Community Schools since first grade.

“I’m very glad I’ve been a UCS student and have benefited from the opportunities here. I know a lot of areas don’t provide these programs or that level of individual attention. My teachers, without exception, have been incredibly dedicated and helpful,” he said in a press release.

Hughes now has his eyes set on the highest position in the country. He plans on being in the president’s seat one day.

“I like to joke that a lot of kids think they want to be president one day. I guess that is a phase that I never grew out of it,” Hughes stated.

He said that being president one day would give him the opportunity to serve the people.

“You have to dedicate yourself to serving the people around you one way or another. Politics just seemed like a good outlet for me to do that,” he said.

Hughes is achieving his dream of going to Harvard University. He will be attending Harvard University to study government in the fall.

“I am confident that this score helped me get in. Similarly, I think this score probably helped me earn a few scholarships that have helped make going to Harvard financially feasible for me,” he said.