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CONWAY — Conway High School now has three seniors who achieved a perfect 36 on the ACT.

Jarrett Hoover’s perfect score was announced earlier this year, and Chloe Baker and Tanner Ruth have joined the elite group.

Baker and Ruth, both 17, are nonchalant about their achievement.

“I kind of did want to get a 36, but it was never really that important to me,” Baker said.

Ruth said he remembered while he was out of school, on his way to get a haircut, that the test results should be posted. He asked his mother, Donna, to look on the computer, and she gave him the good news.

His reaction? “Oh, I got a 36. Cool. I’m going to get a haircut now,” he said.

It is a rare achievement, though.

Ed Colby, senior director for media and public relations at ACT, said only one-tenth of 1 percent of students in the nation who take the ACT earn a 36 composite score.

Baker took the test three times, beginning her sophomore year when she scored a 33; and her junior year, when she scored a 34. She took it in September of this year and scored 36.

“I was in my calculus class, and a friend texted me and asked how I did on my ACT, so I looked it up on my phone because we were just working on homework problems,” she said. Baker said she mentioned her score to classmates nearby.

Her favorite class is “definitely calculus,” she said. Ruth, who is also in her calculus class, said math and science classes are his favorites.

Ruth said he took the ACT six times to achieve a 36.

“I got a 24 in seventh grade. I took it every year, and in 11th grade, I took it twice,” he said. He also scored 28, 33, 34 and 34 before achieving perfection.

He said he kept taking it to get a 36 “just because, to see if I could.”

“I didn’t study at all for any of the tests; then the summer before 11th grade, I took a prep course. I think it probably helped,” he said.

Baker said she took the ACT prep course her sophomore year, when she scored a 33, “but that’s the only studying I did.”

She also took six Advanced Placement exams this year, “so I got the practice, especially for the English and reading portions [of the ACT],” she said.

The students don’t spend all their time studying, though; they’re involved in school activities.

Baker’s grandmother, Mary Ann Rains, who lives in Conway County, said, “She would consider herself a nerd, but she’s much more than that. I’m very, very proud of her. We all are. She’s very, very smart.”

Baker is president of the chess and board-game club, is a leader for the Gay Straight Alliance and is in German Club, Key Club and the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy.

“I’ve painted with watercolor some, and I really enjoy that. It’s nothing really amazing; it’s just fun for stress relief,” she said.

Ruth is a member of the Conway High School Quiz Bowl Team and plays violin in the school orchestra, a skill he’s been honing since before sixth grade. He also has a room full of Lego creations that he’s made, including six trains, one of his other loves. His goal is to become an engineer — either mechanical, civil or aerospace.

“I could do civil engineering and design cycling infrastructure for bicycles. If I end up doing mechanical, [I could] design bicycles, and with aerospace, planes and rockets are pretty awesome,” he said.

“My dream college is MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). I just finished my application for that a couple of days ago,” he said. If he is accepted, Ruth said, he plans to audition for the MIT orchestra and may minor in music.

Baker doesn’t know where she’ll go to college, but she has a goal.

“Honestly, right now, I kind of want to go into biomedical research or be a neurosurgeon. Those are the two things I’m looking at the most right now.”

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

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