Starkville High School honored its 43 students of the SHS 30+ Club with lunch at The Lost Pizza Co. Wednesday afternoon.

Starkville-Oktibbeha School District Superintendent Eddie Peasant said the lunch was a way to celebrate the high-performing students for achieving a 30 or higher on the ACT.

Hassan, McDonnall

SHS senior Ahmed Hassan pictured with SHS Principal Sean McDonnall. Hassan scored a 35 on the ACT. 

"It takes a lot of hard work to earn that achievement and to achieve that high on the exam. We're really proud of them and stress students who are college bound to work hard because the higher the score is on the ACT the more scholarship money for college," Peasant said.

Sherry Worsham, Director of School Engagement Mississippi for Project Lead The Way said, "Hats off to Starkville" for a large number in SHS 30+ Club.

Among the 43 students, freshman Amy Zhang scored a perfect ACT score of 36 on her first attempt.

"I'm really glad that all my studying and my hard work paid off. I didn't think that I'd make a 36 the first time I took it but I was aiming kind of high so I'm happy," Zhang said.

Her hard work consisted of taking practice tests to become familiar with the concepts on the exam. At Starkville High School, Zhang is currently taking Algebra 3 and Biology Honors for science for core courses and she's completed her AP Human Geography class. She's involved in National History Day and the Speech and Debate Team at SHS.

Outside of school Zhang has taken the American Mathematics Contest 10 which is a timed, multiple choice exam for high school sophomores and under to develop better problem-solving skills.

"I'm probably going to take the ACT again to improve my writing score and my science score," she said.

SHS senior Ahmed Hassan said it feels pretty good to have scored a 35.

Hassan also took a lot of practice tests. He took the ACT three times prior to scoring a 35, and afterwards he tried for a 36 twice.

Hassan plans to attend the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

"I plan to major in computer science and study artificial intelligence and then go get a master's after," he said.

SHS Principal Sean McDonnall said they began honoring the students a couple years ago.

"We post posters up on the wall for all of the senior athletes and stuff like that so we said 'Well let's celebrate academics,'" McDonnall said.

Seeing the initial 10-12 students on the wall encouraged other students to aim high and SHS 30+ Club has seen increasing numbers each year.

"We tell the kids that there's no other test you're going to take that the higher you make the more money you get, with scholarships and things like that," he added.

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