Bright Future: Cathedral junior earns perfect score on ACT exam

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2019


NATCHEZ — Less than 2 percent of students in the United States who took the ACT college entrance exam in 2018 received a perfect score, and one of them is a junior at Cathedral High School.

For Alex Dale, the son of Peter and Lisa Dale, the test was more of a personal challenge than a necessity, Alex said.

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The ACT tests students’ preparedness for college in four subject areas — including mathematics, English, reading and science — and grades them on a scale of 1 to 36 with 36 being the top score.

Dale said he first took the exam in seventh grade and earned a 24 — a score widely acceptable by most colleges in universities.

His freshman year, Dale said he took the test again and earned a 32.

When Dale received a composite score of 35 his sophomore year, he said he could not resist the temptation to try taking it one more time.

“Why not?” Dale said. “I was only halfway through high school and still could have taken it 10 more times, so why not try for a 36 and max it out?”

While taking the test last fall, Dale said he was not sure if it was “the one,” but when his test results came back earlier this month, Dale said his perfect score came as a pleasant surprise.

“I nearly timed out on one of the sections,” he said. “My dad was going over some statistics with me and said only a 10th of those who score a 35 ever come back and score a 36.”

Inspired by the new inventions and discoveries of others, Dale said his dream is to study technical science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I just find technology really interesting,” he said. “There is just so much you can do with it. I enjoy all of the sciences, but that particular field is like the one that reaches out to all of the others. Through technology, you can push all of the other sciences forward.”

Dale said he is also interested in video game development, particularly games that involve problem-solving and analytical thinking.

Dale is a member of the CHS soccer team, the National Honor Society, the Science Olympiads, is a recent graduate of the Natchez Youth Leadership Council, is the Lt. Governor of the Key Club and is pursuing Eagle Scout status with the Boy Scouts of America, he said.