LA GRANGE PARK – Nicholas Rozmus, an Elmhurst resident and a junior at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park, had quite the birthday surprise.
On April 1, the day he turned 17, he was summoned to the office of his guidance counselor, Melissa Byram.
“Everybody was getting their (ACT) scores, and I thought maybe there was a problem with my score,” Rozmus said. “I went to the office and I was a bit worried, but she seemed happy. When she told me, I was obviously ecstatic. I wasn’t jumping, but I was certainly smiling.”
The reason for that smile was he had scored a perfect 36 on his ACT exam.
According to blog.prepscholar.com, just 0.195 percent of all test takers post a perfect score. That’s roughly 1,000 of 1.8 million students who take the test.
He called his mom, Kelly Cassidy, with the good news. His father, Scott Rozmus, was at work “but was happy, too” when he found out. The same goes for sister Natalie and brother Andrew – twin freshmen at Nazareth – and seventh-grade sister Samantha.
“They were jumping up and down. That was nice,” he said.
Asked if the family did something special to celebrate, Rozmus smiled and said, “It was my birthday and I wanted to go to Chipotle. I like the steak bowl there.”
The test was given on a Wednesday in February at Nazareth. He was in his comfort zone, in his homeroom testing with his peers.
“When I took it, I didn’t think I did as well as a past test,” Rosmus said. “I didn’t think I did poorly, but I didn’t expect a 36. They say if you take it three times, you will improve.”
He scored a 33 last summer and a 34 in December. The third try was the charm.
“I didn’t do much differently,” Rozmus said. “I took a lot of practice tests, but I’ve done that before. I slept a lot. I think I had a breakfast sandwich from Dunkin’ Donuts. No coffee.”
Rozmus thinks the test score may help “open some doors” when he starts applying for colleges. He’s leaning toward a business degree.
His advice for anyone hoping to score well on the ACT is to “take a lot of practice tests because there are things you can learn. It also helps a lot with timing.”
There are free practice tests available online, he said.
“Nick is creating his legacy at Nazareth through the outstanding ways he embodies our mission of educating the whole person,” principal Therese Hawkins said in a news release.
“He excels both in and out of the classroom and represents the many students here who have received such thorough preparation for the next steps in their academic careers. We join in congratulating Nick and his parents on this amazing accomplishment. We are extremely proud.”
When Rozmus is not posting perfect scores, he’s blocking shots as an all-conference varsity soccer goalie, working as a student council representative, serving as vice president of the math club or playing trumpet in the school band.
He credits his work ethic of refusing to procrastinate with helping him juggle his busy life.
Alena Murguia, public relations coordinator at Nazareth, called Rozmus “an outstanding representative of our school.”
She said he is the third student in Nazareth’s history to score ACT perfection.
“I just put everything into everything I do,” Rozmus said. “School. Soccer. I just do my best. If you’re not doing your best, why do it?”