Eureka Springs students excel on ACT

Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Eureka Springs High School students (from left) Clover Danos, Summer Fish, Isaiah McCurry, Jurny Hammond and Ethan Weems all scored a 30 or above on the ACT. Not pictured is Alexis Jayroe, who also scored in the top percentile.
Photo by Kelby Newcomb

By Kelby Newcomb

Seven Eureka Springs students aced the ACT this year.

Seniors Clover Danos, Isaiah McCurry, Jurny Hammond, Alexis Jayroe and Summer Fish and junior Ethan Weems all scored a 30 or above on the ACT. According to, students who make a composite score of 30 or higher are among the 95th to 99th percentile rankings across the nation.

Danos, who scored a 34, said she was surprised by how well she did, especially because everyone else knew her score before she did.

“I was waiting for it to come in the mail, and everyone was like ‘Congrats on your score!’ ” she said. “I told them ‘I don’t even know what it was. What did I get?’”

When they told her she had scored a 34, Danos said she had to see the results herself before she believed them.

McCurry, who scored a 33, said he was at an away soccer game when counselor Rachal Hyatt told him his score.

“I had been waiting like an extra week and a half,” McCurry said. “[Hyatt] called me over when we were warming up. My dad was on the phone and told me I got a 33. I was like ‘Cool’ and went and played a soccer game.”

Weems, who scored a 32, said he was disappointed with his results.

“I was upset because I did better on the practice test,” he said. “I’ve taken the ACT twice. The school pays for one, so I’ll probably do that one and call it good.”

Hammond, who scored a 31, said he initially thought they had mixed his score up with someone else’s.

“I didn’t know when the score were coming in,” he said. “I checked the day they came in, and I thought I had gotten somebody else’s score for days. I was shooting for a 28, so when I got a 31 I thought it had gotten mixed up with someone else’s score.”

Jayroe, who scored a 32, said she was surprised with her results because she was hoping to score a 27.

Fish, who scored a 32, said she was compulsively checking the ACT website for two days after she took the test.

“I got my score, and I was surprised I did so well because I had an anxiety attack during the test,” she said, laughing. “I feel like I made my parents proud.”

The students said time management is the biggest challenge with the exam.

“Especially for the reading section,” McCurry said. “I’m not a strong reader, and definitely managing my time on that was the hardest.”

“The time limit on the reading section is ridiculous,” Hammon said, “but I think the most difficult portion overall is math.”

Danos agreed, saying the math section was the most difficult part for her, too.

“We did the practice test on paper and the actual test on the computer,” she said. “I get lazy when we do math problems on the computer, so I don’t always work them out on paper.”

“The paper version is only better because of the math section,” Hammond said.

“We have paper for the computer version,” Danos said, “but you can’t underline stuff or write stuff down next to it.”

“Every other math class you’ve taken is a specific math subject,” Hammond said, “but when you take the ACT it’s such a broad spectrum of math you have to really know what you’re doing.”

McCurry and Weems said they preferred taking the exam on the computer.

“It’s so much easier on the computer,” McCurry said.

“It’s hard because you have to bubble, too, on the paper version,” Weems said, “which makes time management even harder.”

Danos said she got a full scholarship to Dartmouth College and plans to major in creative writing.

McCurry said he plans to go into the pre-medical educational track at the University of Arkansas.

Hammond said he plans to study marketing at the University of Arkansas.

Jayroe said she will be attending the University of Central Arkansas and plans to major in English.

“I’m going to study either psychology or forensic science at who knows where,” Fish said. “I have to compete for a full ride to Hendrix.”

Weems said he plans to go into engineering but has not decided on a college yet.

McCurry said upcoming students should spend more time studying strategies for the ACT.

“You either will know the content or not by the time you’re ready to take it,” he said.

“It’s not as hard as people think it is,” Hammond said. “You just have to be patient. Take it seriously. Don’t think it’s a joke or anything.”

“But don’t panic or over-stress either,” Fish said.

“It’s just a test,” Hammond concluded.

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