SM South sophomore Chase Horner notches perfect 36 on ACT

Shawnee Mission South student Chase Horner may still be a sophomore, but he’s accomplished a feat coveted by many high school upperclassmen.

Horner learned last month that he had earned a perfect 36 on his ACT. A tiny sliver of the more than 2 million students who take the test each year earn a perfect score. In fact, among the high school graduating class of 2018, just 2,760 notched a 36.

Chase Horner. Photo courtesy Horner family.
Horner had taken the test twice before his perfect effort on Feb. 9, once as an eighth grader, and once earlier this school year. He’d gotten a 31 — a score good enough to get into many selective colleges — as an eighth grader. When he took the test in September, he got a 34.

“I thought I had a chance to get a perfect score if I took it again,” he said. “Thirty-four is really close, but I thought maybe I could go all the way.”

He walked out of the test a few weeks ago not feeling particularly confident.

“I thought I’d gotten a 33,” he said. “I wasn’t too excited about how I’d done.”

But when he got the alert from the ACT organization that his score was available, he was pleasantly surprised.

“Yeah, I didn’t expect to see the 36,” he said.

Horner still has a good deal of time to think through his college plans, but he said he’s interested in attending Stanford University or Arizona State, perhaps, and studying mechanical engineering, law or finance.

Horner is on the cross country, track and swim teams at SM South, and he plays the trumpet in the school’s marching band.

Last year, Horner helped organize an effort to raise $4,500 to help a community in South Africa fix a broken well and drill a new one to cope with a long drought there.