LEMONT - Lemont High School student Taylor Shimkus became one of a prestigious 1 percent of students yearly who receive a perfect score on the standardized ACT after taking the exam in April.
Shimkus is the sixth Lemont High School student to receive a perfect 36 on the ACT, according to a news release. In addition, Shimkus recently scored a 1580, of a possible 1600, on the SAT, putting her well above the average.
A high achieving and driven student, Shimkus said she was shocked when she saw her score.
“I’m pretty focused during exams, but each section it felt like the last few questions were rushed,” Shimkus said. “I thought I was going to do terrible, so I was really surprised.”
Shimkus’ teachers, however, were not so shocked as one said she expected nothing short of success for Shimkus. Tina Bialek, Shimkus’ AP Physics 2 teacher, said while Shimkus may not be your typical study bound student, she is sure to work hard.
Bialek said Shimkus knows how to prioritize her work and it calculated in her work habits, having a sort of system that works well for her. She said Shimkus has a stand-out personality and has been a joy to teach.
“You’d think she would constantly be studying but she’s really not, she just knows how and when to push,” Bialek said. “[Shimkus] shows a lot of character. She talks about procrastinating but you know she puts time into thing.”
From an educator’s standpoint, Bialek said achieving a perfect score will open infinite doors for Shimkus. From a parental standpoint, she said it is clear Shimkus applied her knowledge greatly, allowing her to succeed.
The ACT is a skill-based assessment, Bialek explained, meaning it’s not something students can study content for. The exam is meant to measure how well students can apply what they have learned throughout their academic lives, and Shimkus said she owes much of her success to teacher like Bialek.
“All of my teachers have been really friendly, and they offer help and will talk with you about everything,” Shimkus said. “My parents always encourage me, and my teachers motivate me to pursue my interests.”
Testing aside, Shimkus’ interests like in the sciences and she plans to study chemical engineering in college. Until then, Shimkus keeps herself busy with marching and symphonic band as well as synchronized skating.
Shimkus said band has taught her many things about life that translate into her academic success including perseverance. She also said being captain of the synchronized skating group she is part of has helped teach her about teamwork, motivation and overcoming obstacles.
As for her school, Bialek wanted Shimkus to know her teacher and fellow students are all cheering on her successes.
“Her teachers and peers are so proud,” Bialek said. “She’s fun in class and works very hard. I’m proud of her.”