Visalia Unified student, Senior Redwood gets a perfect score of 36 on ACT

Taylor Rawson grew up literally everywhere.

From San José to Anchorage and Yuma to Visalia, Taylor was enrolled in nine different schools before his sophomore year.

While attending Redwood High School as a junior last year, Taylor had an average of 4.83 GPA, taking five AP classes. Most recently, he got a 36 – a perfect score – the first in the history of Visalia Unified School District.

“Although I didn’t expect it and didn’t necessarily try to do it,” Taylor said, “I was really really surprised when I got it because when I took the test the first time, I wasn’t sure I had even improved my old score. “

The ACT is a multiple choice test used by colleges and universities to assess students’ readiness for college. The test is divided into four sections: English, Reading, Mathematics and Science.

Taylor took his first ACT practice as a freshman in high school in Arizona. On his first attempt, he scored two points short of a perfect score.

He signed up to take the real test after that, scoring one more point.

The national average score for the 1.3 million high school students who took ACT in 2021 was 20.3, according to the ACT website. Less than 1% of ACT test takers score 35 or more, and less than 0.5% score 36.

“After I took it the first time around, I realized I already knew most of the content,” Taylor said. “So after that I just decided the best thing I could do was practice getting used to the pace of the test due to the speed at which it usually goes.”

Redwood High School Taylor Rawson is the first Visalia Unified student reported to achieve a perfect score on the ACT.

His mother, Sarah, said she knew Taylor scored lower on the math portion on his first attempt because he was in first grade and had not yet been exposed to junior-level math classes. and senior.

In the meantime, Taylor’s parents chose to buy him an ACT study book. In the weeks leading up to the possible Perfect Test, Taylor trained every day.

“The content of ACT you learn early enough, and when you get a good score, probably the most important thing to do is learn the pace of it, learn how to time yourself well,” Taylor said. “Get used to the way the test will be taken and structured.”

‘He would smoke them’

Taylor’s parents, Sarah and Taylor Rawson, both have education backgrounds and both have been teachers at some point in their lives.

They tried to ensure that their four children received an education throughout their many moves before landing in Visalia just two years ago.

“He’s such a bright boy, ever since he was very young … when I was a high school teacher and he was 4 years old, he would come to my class, turn on a computer and play video games with it. some of my middle and high school kids, “his dad said, laughing at some of their shared experiences.” He would smoke them in any game. “

“If you didn’t see him you wouldn’t believe it,” Sarah added, “but at age 3 you could play team video games with him and it was like playing with an adult. . It was fun to watch him. He could read chapters as early as kindergarten.

Taylor will tell you that he finished one of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books while in kindergarten.

Over the years, however, there has been some educational overlap depending on the school district’s curriculum. The example Taylor provided included the level of math courses offered in Alaska compared to Arizona.

The program taught to him at a younger age in Anchorage was equivalent to the specialization courses he received at an older age in Yuma, he said.

Redwood High School Taylor Rawson is the first Visalia Unified student reported to achieve a perfect score on the ACT.  While at school on Friday, he tried to help a stray dog ​​that had found its way around campus.

When Taylor arrived at Visalia, Redwood administrators allowed him to take pre-calculus in second year without taking an entrance exam, which allowed him to jump right into the right course he needed, a his father said.

“Visalia Unified School District would like to congratulate Taylor on achieving a perfect score on the ACT exam,” said Doug Cardoza, Acting Superintendent of Visalia Unified. “We look forward to his future accomplishments as he continues his educational journey. Taylor makes us proud!”

Taylor said he was grateful to Redwood High School for taking an “unconventional” method to ensure he was enrolled in the correct math class.

“I would say one of the most amazing things and one of the hardest things to happen to me has been the number of times we’ve moved,” Taylor said. “But because of all the different places we moved to, not only did the curriculum I learn in differ from state to state, but sometimes it differed from city to city. So I was able to receive education from several types of study programs. I think it helped me prepare in many ways. “

A great motivator

After high school, Taylor wants to go on a mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years, following the tradition of her father, grandparents, some aunts, uncles, and even some of her. Great grand-parents.

After his mission, Taylor wants to attend Brigham Young University like his parents. This was one of the main motivators for getting a score of 35 or higher on the ACT, as it qualifies him for the Nelson scholarship from BYU.

Redwood High School Taylor Rawson is the first Visalia Unified student reported to achieve a perfect score on the ACT.

“I’ve wanted to be a lawyer for a long time, in part because my mom wanted me to be because it was always her dream job, and I thought I would really like it,” Taylor said. “But as I got older I started to learn the details of what a lawyer would be… and I didn’t really want to do that.”

He said that instead of long hours and potential paperwork, he preferred to go into the medical field to help others. The pivot in the medical industry follows in the footsteps of his father and uncle. They work as a pediatric dentist and a doctor respectively.

“I want to go into the medical field, I will also be able to help more people,” he said, “which is a great motivator.”

Also, be on the lookout for Taylor’s three siblings … two of them have already won spelling contests.

Lauren Jennings covers education and news for the Visalia Times-Delta / Tulare Advance-Register. Follow her on Twitter @lolojennings. Receive alerts and stay up to date on all things Tulare County for as little as $ 1 per month. Subscribe today.

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