Cary high school student gets highest possible ACT score

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Zoie Burke already had the brains and now, she has big plans after earning the highest possible ACT composite score.

Soon after learning she earned a 36, the rising senior at Green Hope High School in Cary received a signed letter from ACT's CEO Marten Roorda congratulating her on her 'significant and rare' achievement.

ACT scores are accepted by all major four-year colleges and universities.

Ed Colby, spokesperson for ACT, told ABC11 that essentially every student in North Carolina's 2018 graduating class took the ACT and of those 109,256 test takers, only 112 scored a 36; that's only one-tenth of 1 percent.

Burke, who took the pre-ACT and the real test twice, said she was expectant but still surprised when her results were finally posted online.

"I think I actually jumped up and was like, yeah!" she said, pumping her fist in the air. "And just ran downstairs to tell my parents."

Burke's father, Steve, said he and his wife, Deborah, expected she would do well.

"I was super excited and then I got scared because I started realizing the really expensive colleges Zoie could get into," Steve said.

Burke is spending part of her summer on Duke University's campus at Duke Neuro Camp, but her heart is really in microbiology.

"I've always thought that bacteria and viruses were really cool to learn about," she said. "I really like solving problems and I've always wanted to help people."

As for where she's headed after graduation in 2020, Burke hopes to stay close to home.

"Places like Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill are top on my list," she said.
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