MORRIS – It's not every day a high school student scores a perfect score of 36 on their ACT, but it has been every year for Morris Community High School for the past four years.
It started four years ago when junior Jaymee Cole scored a perfect score, then the next year it was Tim Gile, followed by Trevor Lines and this year, Bridget Gile.
"I definitely knew I wanted to do as well as I can," said Lines, who graduated Friday night. "I took a lot of practice tests in the weeks before the exam."
Principal Kelly Hussey said he is excited to have so many students scoring a perfect score. One was great, but four in a row was more than he expected.
The ACT is a national college admissions examination that students take in high school.
Of the 1.8 million graduating students nationwide who took the test in 2012, only 1,162 students earned a top score of 36. The ACT consists of tests in English, math, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, and a student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. The national average score is 21 according to the ACT website.
This year's perfect score was earned by junior Bridget Gile who is following in the footsteps of her brother Tim, who just finished his freshman year at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
"I went online and found tips and did practice tests," Bridget Gile said. "I didn't take the class my brother did, but I had the book he had to study from."
Tim Gile said unlike his sister, who received her perfect score on the first try, it took him two tests to achieve the perfect score.
"She's very smart," he said of his sister. "Probably smarter than I am."
One thing they all agree on is studying and taking the practice tests both at school and on their own helped them to achieve their perfect score.
They said it isn't just studying though. It's the preparation their teachers gave them at school.
"I feel like something must be going right at Morris Community High School to have four perfect scores in four years," Bridget Gile said.
Lines said he learned from his parents and his teachers over the years to make education a priority, and that gave him the basis he needed to get the perfect score.
When Tim Gile achieved his perfect score, he said he couldn't believe it, and neither did his dad.
"My mom was so excited," he said. "My dad didn't believe it at first."
By the time his sister got her perfect score, their dad was claiming it came from his side of the family.
Lines said from an early age he had a good grasp on reasoning, and he could look at a problem and see the solutions easily.
"It's process of elimination," he said. "My goal was to get a perfect score. I saw kids do it prior to me."
Hussey has begun a tradition, since Cole received her perfect score. He invites all the educators who have been involved in each of the student's educational life to the high school to have a photograph taken with them their senior year before they graduate.
"I thought it was really cool that Mr. Hussey invited everyone. I moved to Morris from Dixon when I was 12 years old, and he even invited my teachers from Dixon for the photograph," Tim Gile said. "It was not something I expected."
This year Hussey gathered educators from Morris Elementary School District 54, Immaculate Conception School, and the high school for the photograph with Lines. Each teacher and principal proudly posed with their former student in the high school gym for the occasion.
Bridget Gile will have her photo done next year during her senior year.
Hussey said he will continue the tradition for each perfect score.