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Names in the News: Whitnall's Stephanie Breunig

The Whitnall senior scored a perfect 36 on her ACT, one of just 162 students around the world to do so.

Many high school students strive for perfection. senior Stephanie Breunig actually achieved it.

Of the more than 1.6 million students who took the ACT in 2011, Breunig was one of just 162 to record a perfect score of 36, and the Class of 2012 salutatorian shared her thoughts on her accomplishment in this week’s Names in the News.

Patch: You are quite involved at Whitnall High School. What are some of the sports or activities you participated in and which one has been your favorite?

SB: I've been involved in volleyball, forensics, Whitnall's school newspaper, and National Honor Society all at Whitnall High School. I've also been really involved in the youth group at St. Mary Hales Corners. I think my favorite activity has been volleyball; I've always had a passion for playing, and between the high school season, club season, and a church league, I play almost year-round.

Patch: How much time did you spend preparing for the ACT, and how in the world did you fit that prep time into all the other things you were juggling?

SB: I don't think that I prepared an excessive amount. I took the ACT in seventh and eighth grade, so I was fairly familiar with the test when I took it my junior year. I also took maybe one or two practice tests a couple of weeks beforehand, and since I took the individual subjects separately, it wasn't too difficult to find an hour or two every now and then to just sit down and do it. I don't think it's a test that you can legitimately study for. Besides getting acquainted with the types of questions that the ACT asks, it eventually comes down to what you have learned throughout your educational career and the analytic skills that you have acquired. All of the teachers that I have had in middle school and high school have definitely helped prepare me, and I owe many of them a lot of credit.

Patch: Did you go into the test thinking you could score a perfect 36? Was it a goal of yours? And how did you feel right after you turned it in?

SB: I never thought that I could get a 36. I went into the test thinking that I wanted to get as high of a score as I could and hopefully improve my previous score, but I never would have guessed. I don't really remember much about actually taking the test. I remember feeling pretty confident while I was taking it, but it didn't feel very different from any other test.

Patch: What was your reaction when you found out your score? What was your family's reaction?

SB: I was extremely surprised when I found out. I remember checking the ACT website one night to see if the scores were up yet. When the page opened up, I couldn't believe my eyes, I was so shocked! Of course, I was really excited after hearing, but I think it was mostly a feeling of really happy disbelief. My dad says that he wasn't surprised, but was very happy and very proud, and my mom agrees with him.

Patch: Have you decided on where you will be attending school next fall? Did your 36 change your plans at all?

SB: I will be attending the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities next year. I think that my ACT score made me seriously look into some schools that I might not have really thought about attending before. However, after careful consideration, I ended up eliminating these schools mainly because of distance or cost. In addition, the schools did not seem to be a great fit, and I for whatever reason couldn't see myself at any of those campuses. On the other hand, I fell in love with Minnesota. I guess that besides opening the possibilities initially, I'm not sure that it changed my final decision.

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