Whoever said perfection was not attainable hasn’t met this teen!

Mastering a feat not accomplished by many (less than one percent to be exact), Mario Hoover can now add “perfect ACT score,” to his list of accomplishments per reports from ABC7 Chicago.

“It’s amazing,” he shared. “When I first saw the score, I was surprised. I was exalted, astounded.”

The ACT is a standardized test that measures students’ skills in five core areas that include English, Math, Reading, Science, and Writing, which is an optional portion of the exam. The test is given to students who are juniors and seniors who can then submit their scores to colleges as a part of the application process.

They are given 45 minutes to answer 75 questions.

A Perfect Kid

As a junior at Providence St. Mel High School located in Chicago, IL, Hoover is now referred to as “Mr. 36,” a nickname that stems from his perfect score on the test. He makes up less than one percent of students on a national scale that manages to lock in that 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?”

The 16-year old walked away with a 29 the first time he took the assessment. The second time’s a charm as he’s now achieved perfection.

“It was great that that happened,” said Hoover. “But I never intended, like, I never imagined that I would get a perfect score.”

A School Of Scholars

High ACT scores are a recurring theme at Providence St. Mel, but achieving a perfect score has been unheard of in the high school’s 42-year-old history — that is, up until Hoover.

“We have a senior this year who earned a 34 on the ACT this year,” said Providence St. Mel alum and principal Timothy Ervin. “We’ve had students earn 34s, 35s, 33s.”

A Better Future

When Collins initially made the decision to send her son to what is known as one of Chicago’s most prominent high schools, she said that she really had no other option. The public school in East Garfield Park, where they resided, shut down when Hoover was in the third grade.

“I’m from this neighborhood, so I know what’s going on,” said Collins, who didn’t want her son to fall victim to the gangs and violence plaguing the area. 

Now she says the high schooler has his teachers to thank for pushing him to work hard to achieve the perfect score. 

Hoover is quite the scholar, maintaining a 3.9 GPA while balancing advanced classes and being an all-state musician and member of the track team. In his free time, he even volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club and a nearby hospital, which fuels his dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon.

“[I’m] Doing the best that I can to boost my academic career and professional career to inspire others to do the same,” Hoover said, according to ABC7 Chicago. “Because once you have that platform, you can inspire people to change the world and you can also change the world.”

While Columbia University is a top prospect for the teen, this summer he will attend a two-week program for high school students in England at Oxford University.