Senior Anthony Baum achieved a 36 on his ACT, an accomplishment less than one-tenth of one percent of test takers achieves.
Anthony Baum remembers being in his first period Latin class when he checked his phone.
It was the day the ACT scores were released, and his screen displayed a “36,” meaning he had gotten a perfect score. He was confused because the rest of the page initially didn’t load, but when it did, he saw it was no fluke.
“I just sort of motioned to my friends, who congratulated me,” Anthony said. “It definitely wasn’t high key.”
It’s a pretty significant accomplishment, though. On average, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the test earn the top score. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2016, only 2,235 of nearly 2.1 million students who took the test earned the top score.
Anthony, who lives near the Northeast Philadelphia Airport, is credited as one of the top students in Holy Ghost Prep’s class of 2018. He’s taken AP classes since his sophomore year, and is enrolled in five of them as a senior.
Notching a perfect score was a goal Anthony had for awhile. This was the second time he took the test.
“The first time I got a 35 out of 36, but felt like I could do better,” he said.
It was a lofty goal, especially since he left the test feeling less confident than the first time.
Now that he achieved that goal, he has his sights set on another: getting accepted into MIT. He hopes to study biological engineering, citing his fascination for modern research toward curing diseases as inspiration.
“Crazy good things are being invented toward curing diseases and helping people, and I want to and think I could help them do that,” he said.
His choice of study is ironic, considering he was bored when he took biology his freshman year.
“In sophomore year I took chemistry, which I love,” he said. He credited teacher Mrs. Coopersmith for her enthusiasm and getting him involved with science again. This year he’s taking AP Biology and AP Physics.
If Anthony does get accepted into MIT, he’s hoping to have a few scholarships to help with tuition. He is a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program, which, if selected as a finalist, will qualify him for a large variety of scholarships.
He qualified as a semifinalist based on a test he took as a junior. Finalist results haven’t been announced yet, but he submitted an essay for consideration.
Graduation isn’t until next year, though, and Anthony has his hands full at Holy Ghost until then.
In addition to his course load, he’s active in extracurricular activities. He’s participated in the school play and on the bowling and mathletes teams.
Since he was a freshman, he has represented the school with seven other classmates at the Technology Student Association TEAMS competition. Holy Ghost has made the national competition all three years Anthony has participated.
The competition has students design, engineer and create a machine of an assigned theme. Anthony usually helps out with designing portion, previously helping create a windmill contraption and a water filtration device.
Over summers, Anthony works as a camp counselor as Resica Falls in the Poconos, where he’s been going every year since he was a Boy Scout.
“It teaches valuable skills, and I get to know a lot of people and make an impact,” he said. Next summer will be his fifth year working there.
He’s also working on his project to graduate from Boy Scout to Eagle Scout.
As Anthony moves on to the next chapter of his life, he credits Holy Ghost for helping him achieve his goals.
“From the day I walked in the school, it’s always felt like such a close community,” he said. “It’s been so inspiring for me to focus on learning and growing there as a person.” ••