High schooler achieves perfect ACT score

When Benjamin Baksis applies to colleges this fall, he’ll have an advantage few other students can boast.

The Bonneville High School soon-to-be senior achieved a perfect ACT test score — a composite score of 36, earned by less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the test.

“When I first opened the results (online) I didn’t believe it for a little bit,” Baksis said. “But then, I logged out of the account and back into it to make sure I did it right. I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s still here.’ … I didn’t know what to believe, really, I just didn’t expect it. But it was really exciting.”

Test-taking comes easier to Baksis than most. He’s achieved a 3.9 grade point average at Bonneville while taking a slew of tough courses, including AP English, AP Calculus, Honors English and Honors World History. Baksis also recently took the SAT and achieved a 2350 score out of a possible 2400.

“He doesn’t even study much, really,” said his mom, Jessica Baksis. “He just has a gift of knowledge. He gets good grades and does really well on tests.”

To achieve his top ACT score, Baksis spent just a few hours studying. Rather than stuffing his head full of facts and numbers, he said, his key to test success is a bit more simple.

“I just pay attention in class so I learn the material,” he said. “And during tests, I usually just try to relax, not stress out about it and go into it with an open mind … but I feel really lucky to have that ability to excel when I put my mind to it.”

In college, Baksis said he’d like to study environmental engineering because he’s interested in keeping the planet in proper shape for the future.

He’s considering attending several top colleges, including Stanford University, Cornell University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Georgia Institute of Technology. He’s even weighing a few local options, Utah State University among them.

And thanks to his perfect ACT score, he’s feeling more confident when it comes time to start submitting applications.

“Before, I was kind of nervous about applying for colleges,” he said. “I didn’t really know how I stood out from other people. Now that I have this, I feel more confident. I feel like I have something colleges will look at and see as unique.”

Other school news

Jerie Meagan Carson and Alexi Rose Rule, both of Idaho Falls, made the spring semester 2014 dean’s list at William Penn University, Oskaloosa, Iowa. To make the dean’s list, students had to achieve a 3.5 minimum grade point average for at least 12 credit hours.

The following eastern Idaho students graduated this month from Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa: John Pymm, of Ashton, with a doctorate of osteopathic medicine degree; Justin “Luke” Smith, of Idaho Falls, with both a doctorate of osteopathic medicine and a master of science degree in anatomy.

Jason Cramer, of Idaho Falls, recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. Cramer, who was class valedictorian, is studying for the bar exam and has accepted a position with Winstead PC law firm in The Woodlands, Texas.