West’s Tan earns perfect score

Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 11:54 am

West High senior Martin Tan scored a perfect 36 on the A.C.T. test.

West High senior Martin Tan scored a perfect 36 on the A.C.T. test.

One Morristown West High School senior was on his way out of the country when he received the news he had earned an elusive perfect score on his A.C.T.

Martin Tan was on his way to Canada for vacation with his family when the long trip took its toll and he decided to check the web. When he first looked at the A.C.T. page, he thought the score at the bottom was an example.

He asked his sister to check it and she excitingly woke everyone else up with the news. Tan had received a perfect composite score of 36 on the test.

Tan, who took the test in June, said afterwards he felt good about getting a high score, but had no idea how well he’d done.

Tan said he took a few practice A.C.T. tests to learn the form of the test before taking it in June. He said he spent a few spare hours to study but did not “cram” for the exam at the last moment.

“With the stuff covered on A.C.T., the highest level of math is trigonometry. I took that as freshman and sophomore. I think it also helped that my teachers here taught us how to learn and give us background knowledge on things and they aren’t just teaching to the test,” Tan said.

He mentioned his Language Arts teacher Dr. Rebecca Drinnon helped teach instead of just reading, how to look into the passages on the reading portion of the exam. He said she also helped improve his writing skills.

Tan’s success comes as no surprise to West principal, Dr. Jeff Moorhouse, who said Tan is the first West student during his time at the school to earn a perfect score.

“I first met Martin when I was at Manley Elementary. He came in with his parents early for school because he could already read. We had him sit down and he read a book to me upside down so I could see the pictures. I could tell then he was going to be an incredibly bright student,” Moorhouse said.

Moorhouse credited Tan for also being a friendly student and well liked by his peers.

Not only has Tan excelled on the test, but also in the classrooms at West. Most of his classes are at the advanced level, with more than 10 Advanced Placement courses and his earning several college credits.

Tan will finish next semester taking AP Statistics and English Literature to hopefully earn some additional college credit.

His extracurricular activities include being an officer of the Science Club, a fourth year Scholar’s Bowl participant, leader of the trumpet section in the band, and the founder of the school’s science club Nu Alpha Theta.

Tan said he enjoys all his classes at West because the teachers really try to make learning fun. His favorite subject matter is between math and science because they hold his interest. He said he finds chemistry intriguing because it’s about making things relatable and finding out processes.

With the senior year just gearing up, Tan said he is keeping his options open about his future choice for a college. He said he is focused on applying to schools in the South to stay close at home, but is also considering what scholarships he can receive.

Tan said wherever he goes, he would likely study in the pre-med realm with possible undergraduate majors of chemistry or biochemistry.

He wants to follow in his fathers footsteps, who he said has been a major influence on him, and become a doctor.

Tan is the son of Dr. Michael and Amy Tan. His sister Michelle is a student at Emory University in Atlanta.

-By Chris Phipps, Tribune Staff Writer

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