Four District 211 students get perfect ACT score

  • From left, Nikita Pillai, Soumik Biswas, Fiona Helgren and Jack Riedy.

    From left, Nikita Pillai, Soumik Biswas, Fiona Helgren and Jack Riedy. Submitted by District 211


Four students were honored at a Palatine-Schaumburg District 211 board of education meeting Thursday for achieving perfect scores on the American College Test, or ACT.

Nikita Pillai of Conant High School, Soumik Biswas and Fiona Helgren of Fremd High School and Jack Riedy of Palatine High School all scored "36" on the ACT.

According to the ACT website, in 2011 more than 1.6 million students took the test, which includes English, math, reading and science reasoning. Only 780 students nationwide received a cumulative score of 36 on the exam.

All high school juniors in Illinois are required to take the ACT as part of the Prairie State Achievement Examination.

Here is what four teachers had to say about the District 211 students who earned a perfect score:

"I was impressed with Nikita well before she took that test ... she was a freshman in high school handling college level calculus ... she handled the demands and the rigor of the curriculum with nothing but grace, confidence and a sense of purpose." -- Conant High School math teacher LuAnn Ligmanowski presenting Nikita Pillai.

"What amazes me most about Soumik's accomplishment is that he is just beginning his junior year right now. He took the ACT test at the end of his sophomore year, without the benefit of a third year of English or science or math, and still got a perfect score. I don't know how he accomplished it, but I sure am impressed by it." -- Fremd High School science teacher Brad Graba presenting Soumik Biswas.

"I've always been impressed by her insightfulness and her work ethic and her eagerness to continue learning ... Fiona is completely modest. In fact, she told me she felt uncomfortable with everybody knowing what she got on her ACT because she felt like it was bragging. So luckily, I took care of the bragging part for her." -- Fremd High School English teacher Sarah Nickow presenting Fiona Helgren.

"I've also been able to watch him grow into a wonderful young man who deserves this honor and I am so excited that you achieved this because you are pretty smart, no matter what the tests say." -- Palatine High School English teacher and speech team coach Liz Sheehan presenting Jack Riedy.

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