The power of determination!
“It’s amazing,” he shared. “When I first saw the score, I was surprised. I was exalted, astounded.”
While getting a pass in any exam is noteworthy, conquering against the odds and surpassing, going ahead to achieve a perfect score is most definitely GOALS.
Chicago-based high school student Mario Hoover recently rewrote Providence-St. Mel School’s 43-year history as the first student to achieve a perfect score on the ACT standardized college admissions exam in the institution. He now belongs to the coveted less than 1% who have achieved the feat nationally.
Although Hoover hasn’t always believed in his abilities, he ensured not to take chances by diligently preparing for the ACT by taking practice tests and pacing himself during the timed practice exams.
An all-rounder, Hoover also sings in the school’s concert choir, runs track, and is on the debate team as well as volunteers at the local boys and girls club.
Providence-St. Mel School principal Timothy Ervin super proud of Hoover’s achievement didn’t hold back praise.
“He is the future of Black history, in the sense that he has made history here in the present, and that’s going to live on forever,” the proud principal said.
Hoover didn’t start with Providence-St. Mel but in a public school and joined the school in third grade. Although demands of his new school set the bar high, Hoover noted that during his time in public school homework wasn’t a thing, he had to adjust to get his desired results.
“I’ve been at Providence-St. Mel since third grade. Now I’m a junior. It’s rough. It’s rough sometimes.”
Hoover, full of praise for his school says it is dedicated to students’ education. Even though Hoover is diagnosed with ADHD, he has mastered ways to help him study with help from his teachers. He admitted that they also told him they saw his potential.
“They make us study and practice for the ACT. I’ve been practicing since like the sixth grade. They reward us,” he added. “We have the honor’s assembly every quarter, and they reward us for our achievements. So it’s a very rigorous process, but it’s a very rewarding one.”
Being raised by a single mother, Hoover doesn’t take for granted that he’s blessed to be able to attend the acclaimed school. He also hopes he inspires others from his neighborhood and city.
“Not everybody has the best access to education. But once provided with those tools and resources to succeed, a lot of people have the potential to. I see potential everywhere as I walk through my neighborhood,” Hoover said. “It breaks the notion that people from the West Side can’t succeed. I hope people look at me and think they can do it as well.”
The ambitious teen is also a gifted musician who was recently accredited by the Illinois Music Education Association.
Hoover aspires to be a neurosurgeon and wants to attend Columbia University in New York, majoring in neuroscience and minoring in music. His mother told FOX 32 that the Ivy League school had already contacted her son, Black Enterprise reports.
Hoover is now referred to as “Mr. 36,” stemming from his perfect score on the test.
“This is a 36!,” said his mother Zippora Collins when recalling her initial reaction to her son’s score. “I’m like, Mario is this real?”
Although he achieved a perfect score, this wasn’t the first time the 16-year old tried it out, the first time he walked away with a 29.
“It was great that that happened,” said Hoover. “But I never intended, like, I never imagined that I would get a perfect score.”