By Marc Ridgell ‘19
Liam Coughlin, born in Evergreen Park and raised in Orland Park, graduated from St. Michael School located in Orland Park. Matriculating as an AP/Honors student to Brother Rice in 2015, he joined Robotics Club; now, Robotics Club is one of his main extracurriculars. Not only is he an excelling student and interested in science, he has also excelled in a major standardized test – the ACT.
The ACT contains four sections: English, mathematics, reading and science. Some students prepare for the ACT by taking ACT preparation courses, independent studying, private tutoring, etc.
On Saturday, October 28. many other high schoolers across the country took the ACT test. The ACT, one of two of the main college entrance exams (the other being the SAT), is based out of a score of 36. Only one-tenth of the top percentile of students who take the ACT score a 36.
Liam achieved a perfect score his first time taking the test. He had taken the October 28 ACT, and he explained that he had not received any prior preparation for this test. However, he said that his Brother Rice classes, especially in the English department, prepared him for the content of this test.
Liam gave some insight on how he felt both during and immediately after the test: “Math was really tripping me out because it gets harder and harder as it progresses.” After the test, Liam felt pretty normal; he went about his day and really did not think anything of it. Scores came out on November 14, and Liam was not expecting what he would see that morning.
Liam, being the first student in nearly 40 years at Brother Rice to get a perfect ACT score, felt flabbergasted when he logged into his account that morning. He was in a state of disbelief. Amusingly, he actually thought he was looking at the wrong account. After finding out his own score, still shaken, he told his parents his score. Liam said, “They were ecstatic; they were really excited.”
When Brother Rice found out about his score, he received many commendations from the Brother Rice community. Brother Rice’s president, Dr. Kevin Burns, told Liam to get any one item that he wanted from the bookstore. Overwhelmed by his options, Liam said he chose the least expensive shirt in the bookstore.
Throughout this interview, Liam remained very humble. When asked how he has stayed humble throughout this entire process of finding out about his perfect score, he ended his ACT story with a few wise words: “You have to remember that sometimes this is the luck of how you’re feeling one day. And you have to remember that everyone is at different levels; everyone goes at their own pace. You shouldn’t think that you are better than someone because of some random test tells you that you have a bigger number [score] than someone else.”
Not only did Liam receive this perfect score, he still has been very self-effacing throughout this entire process.
In addition, he has offered his fellow juniors some advice when taking this test: “Make sure you’re not trying to read for comprehension in the reading but rather try to skim it. With the science portion, don’t get freaked out if it seems like Greek. Most of the time you can get a lot of the answers from the graphs, or from your known knowledge of science.”
Congratulations to Liam on achieving this milestone in his academic career.