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Roosevelt senior achieves perfect ACT score

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:37 a.m. HST, Aug 02, 2013



A high school senior earned a perfect score on a national college admissions exam to become the only student in Hawaii to ace the exam this year.

Gillian Miyuki Desmond of Roosevelt High School scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. It's a feat only 781 students out of more than 1.66 million achieved last year. Last year, Jason Cheng of Kaiser High School scored a 36 as well.

The standardized test covers English, reading, math and science, and is accepted by all major U.S. colleges.

Her grade point average is 4.4 and she received the highest possible score of five on Advanced Placement exams in chemistry, statistics and English. She also scored 2280 out of 2400 on her SATs.

Her father credits her academic success to reading and music. She could recite the alphabet at 15 months old and was reading Harry Potter in the second grade. She started playing ukulele in third grade and eventually played clarinet in band.

"When she was old enough to walk basically, I was taking her to the library already," said Richard Desmond. "She always liked it."

As she starts her senior year next week, she'll be busy applying for scholarships and is considering studying math or science at Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology or the University of Hawaii-Manoa.






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palani wrote:
Very impressive. Congratulations, Ms. Desmond, and good job to the teachers and staff at Roosevelt.
on August 2,2013 | 05:48AM
pcman wrote:
IRT palani on teachers and staff. I doubt if teachers had anything to do with Desmond's success. My hats off to her parents who had to keep on her for 12 years. Teachers only see her for a year at a time and have very little to do with any continued success of any student. If parents and staff did a great job, she would have been a class or student government president, National Honor Society president or chairman of the graduation, prom or class banquet chairman. She would have been a captain of an athletic team, have participated in many self improvement classes (Karate, Judo, Aikido, etc), been a member or officer in a community service club, and excelled in some kind of cultural function (hula, band, orchestra, scouting, etc.) The non-academic activities would get her into the best 10 schools in the country. I hope Roosevelt has more than 3 AP classes. Having just 3 AP classes is a disservice to the students, community and state. Congratulations, Ms Desmond. Good luck in college.
on August 2,2013 | 08:00AM
inverse wrote:
Agree 100%. With such a great test score, her public school teachers and advisers should have developed her beyond just achievement test and she should have been a national merit finalist. if this student attended Iolani or Punahou, facullty there would recognize her potential, developed her to be an all around person who would've been one of the first to be accepted to Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, etc. Of course in her case attending Punahou or Iolani would have put her in the front of the line going into college, but in the end, it will only be up to her and her 'real world' capabilities on how far she goes. If a kid, even if attended Hawaii public schools is special and has what it takes to rise to the top, eventually they will get their on their own merits, independent of whether they attended public or private school in Hawaii. HOWEVER it they attended public school, it will take them longer, and sometimes time is a luxury they might be able to afford in the future (ex missed college opportunites, raising a family, taking care of elderly parents. Illness, )
on August 2,2013 | 08:26AM
false wrote:
IRT inverse: you and pcman are really "glass half empty" kind of people. This young lady achieved something no other student in Hawaii did this year (public OR private school), and all you can do is point out what "should've been done". And your last sentence makes absolutely no sense whatsoever...
on August 2,2013 | 09:11AM
inverse wrote:
Actually just the opposite, this young woman has great potential BEYOND just receiving a perfect standardized test score, which is a feat in itself. HOWEVER in order to reach her maximum potential she has to be "groomed" early, just like a gold medal Olympic gymnast or swimmer, by both her parents and faculty/advisers who are in the know on what it takes to achieve her personal goals, whatever that may be. And that INCLUDES jumping through hoops such as becoming a national merit finalist, and applying and being accepted to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, hopefully with a full academic scholoarship. False, in any other case, I would agree with you, however if this kid wants to make it to the top, then you have to take a glass half empty approach and demand even higher levels of achievement from her than just sitting on her laurels of receiving a perfect score on the ACT, because in the real world of business, science, law, medicine, etc. that does not amount to much. I still contend that had Obama attended public school in Hawaii and not Punahou, he would have NEVER become president of the US. If this young kid has the drive and ambition, she has to be 'nudged' and expertly guided to reach higher and higher levels. If she has no such ambition to be the best of the best in whatever field she chooses, then fine frame her perfect score results and place it on the wall and call it a day and let her cruise along life from there.
on August 2,2013 | 10:09AM
false wrote:
Just like pcman you assume that this young woman has done nothing else but achieve her perfect ACT score. Do you know her or the family personally? And your comment about Obama is a knock on every public school student in Hawaii.
on August 2,2013 | 10:46AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Actually, false, there is some grain of truth to what inverse and pcman have stated. Although I would not totally discredit Roosevelt High School staff I, too, would wonder what this student would have achieved had she been enrolled at Iolani or Punahou School. She might have been taking UH courses and/or graduated earlier. I suspect that she would have been better served had she started college earlier. Many with much lower scores in ACT and SAT have gone on to prestigious universities and flourished. I would also suspect from the article that the parents are actively involved with their child's education. Her father took her to the library as soon as she was capable of reading. How many parents even bother to take their children to the library? I wouldn't go so far as to say that if Obama had gone to public school, he wouldn't have become our president. Look at our former governor, Ben Cayetano. He went to a public high school. On a personal level, my children's performance has greatly improved after I transferred them to private schools. I can see firsthand the quality of their education when I see the type of homework that they receive. When they were in public school their homework consisted of "busy" work. Now, they are actually challenged. Further, they are not taught morals whereas in the public school such an area is often a no-no. Our children should not only be educated but taught what is right from wrong. As parents we should teach our children this fact of life but we need our education system to reinforce it. As I have stated in the past, many students will succeed despite of all the challenges that are placed on them such as lack of resources or the lack of a quality education. It is up to the student to utilize what is available to him or her. And that is how our former governor succeeded.
on August 2,2013 | 12:14PM
DinoMax wrote:
This article is strictly about her results on her ACT test. BTW, last testing year a Kaiser senior had a perfect ACT score and will be attending Harvard next month.
on August 2,2013 | 10:00AM
Wage Earner wrote:
Hope Mr. Iwasa is reading this...the man who wrote that Letter to the Editor yesterday.
on August 2,2013 | 10:16AM
false wrote:
IRT pcman: please stop with the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" nonsense. What do you know about this young lady other than her perfect ACT score? Do you know for a fact that she never participated in student govt., athletics or other extra curricular activities? Your well wishes seem pretty empty after your long list of things you ASSUME she didn't do. Also judo and karate are sports, not "self-improvement classes" (whatever those are).
on August 2,2013 | 08:55AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
pcman, you don't know Jack about this student or her family.....or do you? Congratulations, Gillian. Please make the best of yourself. The future needs you.
on August 2,2013 | 09:07AM
Wage Earner wrote:
pcman and inverse, are you aware she is an INCOMING senior? Meaning she will receive college acceptance late this year at the earliest. Calm down, and just be happy for this young woman and her family. Guess it's difficult with the negativity you bring.
on August 2,2013 | 09:30AM
Lanaiboy wrote:
If you had Googled her, you would have known that she is the member of her school's marching and symphony bands. She may be active in other areas too. Why base countless words on a person you know absolutely nothing about save that she got a perfect score on ACT tests and takes AP classes. She lists her desired schools, such as USC, Stanford, CalTech and would you believe UH Manoa?
on August 2,2013 | 10:55AM
W15 wrote:
i think ms. desmond will do just fine, even without pcman's "sage advice." ;-)
on August 2,2013 | 02:48PM
Galatians52223 wrote:
Agree with W15 and Lanaiboy. Congratulations Gillian!
on August 2,2013 | 08:40PM
derek_millennium wrote:
Public school student
on August 2,2013 | 06:05AM
clydek wrote:
A truly impressive feat. Gillian...Well Done! Kudos to her parents, too.
on August 2,2013 | 06:15AM
OldDiver wrote:
Congrats. Guess she slipped through the recruiters at Punahou and Iolani.
on August 2,2013 | 06:18AM
Wonderful_World wrote:
Congratulations!!! A very bright future awaits her!
on August 2,2013 | 06:28AM
Opelu wrote:
Superb Just Superb !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on August 2,2013 | 06:29AM
Dragonman wrote:
Yes congrats. Also congrats to all the students that did well on their ACT's. All of their hard work is paying off.
on August 2,2013 | 06:50AM
808Cindy wrote:
Gillian Desmond Congratulations!! And Thank You!! ... to all those who have and continue to help our children here in Hawaii by encouraging and giving them the best opportunity to succeed in their lives.
on August 2,2013 | 06:59AM
cojef wrote:
Kudos to ms. desmond for making Hawaii proud. Congrats to parents for raising a well discplined child, 4.4 average. Wow.
on August 2,2013 | 07:31AM
Hawaiipaddler wrote:
Awesome! Good job, Gillian!
on August 2,2013 | 07:31AM
mitt_grund wrote:
The parents deserve some recognition as well. Funny how the public school system wants to whole hog the limelight. Gillian's parents must be supportive of their daughter. Where that exists, you will have a person who will succeed in school regardless of how bad. You see this in immigrant families as well. But the perfect score deserves kudos to student, parents and schools involved.
on August 2,2013 | 07:35AM
OldDiver wrote:
Yeah, who do they think they are. Hogging the limelight is the domain of the private schools.
on August 2,2013 | 08:10AM
atilter wrote:
only because pub schools can't afford to have fully funded PR departments, or development (fund-raising) departments!! success will invariably come to those who aggressively desire it - no matter the school!!! this theorem has been proven time and again, but not highly publicized. kudos to all who were involved with her success which will speak for itself!!!
on August 2,2013 | 08:48PM
NotNasti wrote:
Iolani had a kid score a perfect 2400 on the SAT last year . . . no news article about that feat. According to my daughter, who scored a perfect 800 on her math SAT, those things are not a big deal at Iolani. Actually, the PSAT, taken at the beginning of their junior year, is the money test, as it the scores are used to determine National Merit Scholarships.
on August 2,2013 | 09:55PM
humuhumu wrote:
NotNasti....sour grapes? Can't you just say "congrats" and move on? Sounds like you would discredit anything positive coming out of a public school, huh?
on August 2,2013 | 11:04PM
NotNasti wrote:
Humuhumu, actually, not (sour grapes). How did I discredit what the Roosevelt student did? I was responding to Old Diver, who seems to think that private schools "hog the limelight." As a product of our public schools, I am proud to see that the last two perfect ACT scores came from public schools. I come from a family of public school educators (mother, father, brother and sisters).
on August 3,2013 | 02:11AM
Bdpapa wrote:
That's great news. Congratulations!
on August 2,2013 | 09:03AM
Wonderful_World wrote:
Hm-m-m, no comment from the outspoken N Dakotan?
on August 2,2013 | 10:43AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
My congratulations to this fine student. The sky's the limit!
on August 2,2013 | 12:18PM
st1d wrote:
congratulations to gillian, her parents, music and academic teachers. role models everyone of them.
on August 2,2013 | 08:51PM
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