Three seniors at Shawnee Mission East score perfect 36’s on their ACT composite

Senior running back Eli Kurlbaum, left, and senior offensive lineman Peter Haynes both scored 36 on their ACT composite.
Senior running back Eli Kurlbaum, left, and senior offensive lineman Peter Haynes both scored 36 on their ACT composite.

The three seniors at Shawnee Mission East who scored a perfect 36 on their ACT composite this year are as well-rounded as that number sounds.

Peter Haynes and Eli Kurlbaum are both on the powerful East football squad, and Yashi Wang is design editor for the newspaper, The Harbinger, and also helps produce the Freelancer, the literary magazine.

It’s no small accomplishment to achieve a 36 composite on the ACT, the college admission exam taken by millions of students across the country. Less than one-ten of 1 percent of graduates can make that claim.

Haynes prepared by studying the ACT review book for an hour or two every night for a week, and then 3-4 hours for a couple nights before the exam.

The first time he took a practice test, he scored 35. Then he hit 36 on the second practice.

“I was feeling pretty good,” he said.

Haynes has submitted an early application for Stanford University, his first choice. At this point, while he’s not exactly sure, he’s considering studying math or science, or perhaps engineering.

He plays on the offensive line at East, although an injured knee has hampered his senior season. He’s also on the track team, his events are shot put and discus, and hopes to make it to the State Track Meet.

Kurlbaum took online practice tests to prepare for the ACT and briefly went to an ACT tutor in September, “I thought it was a little too expensive.”

He’s applied for early admission to Harvard University, but also is considering Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and Washington University.

While he’s currently thinking about medicine, he remains open to other possible careers. At East, besides playing running back for the team, he’s enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program and is co-president of the Math Club.

Yashi Wang
Yashi Wang

Wang studied intensely for the test and said she got the most help in preparing from the practice book published by the ACT.

Her first college choice is Yale University. Wang is also interested in Columbia University. Her possible majors include economics, philosophy or something in the social sciences.

Besides her journalism work at East, Wang is treasurer of the Student Council.