by Dennis Dalman
After Gopi Ramanathan aced his American College Test, getting a perfect score, he credited the Sartell-St. Stephen school system for teaching him exactly what he needed to know for the test.
“For the most part, I was prepared because of my classes,” said the 16-year-old junior at Sartell High School. “They definitely taught me what I needed to know.”
Ramanathan took the ACT earlier this fall. Recently he received an email informing him he had a perfect score – 36. He was stunned.
A prep course he took through the Minnesota School of Business was also helpful, he noted, but never did he think he would ace the ACT.
“I was very surprised,” he said, “because there were parts of the test I wasn’t sure of. I was definitely nervous before I took it because I was not sure if I was ready for it and even during the test I wasn’t sure. I had to kind of struggle through the parts of the test that dealt with English and reading comprehension. I was really expecting a score that would be lower.”
Getting a perfect ACT score is about as rare as finding a dazzling diamond in a heap of sand. Every year hardly more than 1,000 students nationwide achieve a perfect score out of the more than 1.8 million students who take the test, said Ramanathan’s school counselor, Noel Meyer. ACT measures students’ knowledge in four areas: English, reading, math and science. The results of that test, along with the Scholastic Aptitude Test, are used as part of the criteria for acceptance at colleges.
Ramanathan said he will take the SAT later this year.
Those who know Ramanathan were not too surprised at his perfect ACT score.
“For the most part, I was shocked at first because we in Sartell never had a student get a 36 (perfect score) on an ACT,” Meyer said. “A perfect score is extremely rare. And, then again, I wasn’t shocked because Gopi is such a motivated and bright young man.”
Ramanthan has had a string of achievements in his years of schooling. He has won the Geography Bee multiple times and even competed in the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. two years ago, where he was seventh of 52 contestants. Last year, he and two other teammates from other states competed in the worldwide Geography Bee in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Four years ago, Ramanathan was a member of a team that won a statewide math contest.
In addition, he has excelled time and again as a member of the Knowledge Bowl team.
His fellow students have been very supportive, Ramanathan noted. They have come up to congratulate him, and he received a warm round of applause and cheers when the news about his ACT score was announced during a recent pep rally.
He also credited fellow students with indirectly helping him do well on tests. Knowing Ramanathan is so knowledgeable, students quite often ask him about this or that. When Ramanathan did not know the answers, he would do research and find out, thus broadening even further his range of knowledge.
Despite his wealth of knowledge, Ramanathan is not the proverbial “bookworm.” He is a well-rounded, well-adjusted student who enjoys playing soccer and other activities. He is a member of the student council, a member of the National Honor Society and an indispensable, long-time member on the school’s Knowledge Bowl team.
His parents, Vasugi and Gajen Ramanathan, were surprised at his perfect score, but that surprise quickly blossomed into pride. His brother, Janagan, was also pleased and proud of him.
“I have no idea what I will study when I go to college,” Ramanathan said. “I have not even decided which college I will attend.”
But there is no rush, not just yet anyway, because Ramanathan still has nearly two years left of high school, years to acquire more knowledge, years to keep acing tests.