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Science Hill senior named National Merit Finalist and earns perfect ACT score

Science Hill senior named National Merit Finalist and earns perfect ACT score


It wasn’t that Science Hill senior Sophia Cross thought she’d make a perfect score on the ACT, but she was hopeful that her hard work would pay off. And it did. Cross earned a perfect 36 on her ACT and she recently learned that she is also one of four National Merit Finalists at Science Hill.

“It feels nice that all of the work I did paid off,” Cross said through a smile.

But even for someone who holds herself to high expectations, Cross admitted to being a bit baffled when she learned of her score.

“I was surprised at how good it was,” Cross said. “I was expecting a good score, but I wasn’t expecting a perfect score.”

Cross – who participates in dance, Student Government Association, Beta Club and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) – said that she doesn’t have any secrets to her success, but it might be the silver lining of the pandemic for her. She noted that the extra time she had due to varying school schedules allowed her to take more practice tests than planned.

“I think that practice is just the best way,” Cross said. “You have to go so fast. The thing I focused on was getting through all of it as opposed to getting every question right because it’s just so fast, and there are so many questions.”

She also mentioned that the classes she selected at Science Hill helped her better prepare for the different sections of the ACT. Even with graduation in sight, Cross still took advantage of Science Hill’s course offerings as she took a full Advanced Placement load to close out her schedule.

“When I took it in 7th-grade, I had no idea what was going on,” Cross said. “But when I took it in high school, it felt easy because of the math classes I was in.”

While Cross isn’t quite sure what her major will be, she is excited to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – the alma mater of her parents. Cross also plans on being on the dance team at UNC.