Roosevelt High senior achieves rare perfection


Gillian M. Desmond of Roosevelt High is the only Hawaii student to post a perfect 36 score on the ACT test this past year. For the first time in 2013, the Department administered the test to all middle and high school students statewide in grades 8, 9, 10 and 11.

​​​HONOLULU – Roosevelt High senior Gillian M. Desmond is the only Hawaii student to score a perfect 36 score on the ACT test this past year.

More than a million students nationwide take the college readiness assessment test annually, with only about one-tenth of 1 percent earning a top score. Among test takers in the high school graduating class of 2012, only 781 of more than 1.66 million students earned the composite score of 36. Gillan’s feat comes one year after Jason Cheng, then a junior at Kaiser High, earned the top composite score in the 2012 ACT.

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and a student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take ACT’s optional Writing Test, whose score is reported separately and not included within the ACT composite score. ACT test scores are accepted by all major U.S. colleges, and exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.

Gillian is a product of the Roosevelt Complex of schools: Nuuanu Elementary, Kawananakoa Middle and Roosevelt. She is also a member of the Roosevelt Marching and Symphonic Band, and holds a grade point average of 4.4. Gillian also received the highest score possible of 5, on each of three Advanced Placement exams: Chemistry, Statistics and English. She is the daughter of Richard and Beverly Desmond of Hawaii Kai and is considering studying math or science at Stanford, USC, Caltech or UH-Manoa.

“We at Roosevelt High School are very proud of Gillian, who exemplifies the high bar we set for our Roughriders,” said Roosevelt Principal Jeanette Uyeda. “We hope that all students will follow her example of discipline, hard work, and perseverance, which have no doubt contributed to this amazing accomplishment. We extend our sincerest congratulations to Gillian and her parents.”

In a letter to Gillian recognizing her extraordinary achievement, ACT CEO Jon Whitmore said, “While test scores are just one of the many criteria that most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals.”

For the first time in 2013, the Hawaii State Department of Education administered the test to all middle and high school students statewide in grades 8, 9, 10 and 11.

“By 2018, Hawaii will rank 10th in the nation in jobs requiring postsecondary degrees,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are setting a high bar for achievement and delivering optimal tools and resources to accelerate our students’ path toward college and career readiness. All high school graduates must complete a rigorous course of study and be prepared to successfully pursue their dreams, aspirations and goals.”

The Department is aggressively addressing key statewide goals and strategies outlined in the Hawaii State Board of Education/Department of Education Strategic Plan. The ACT College and Career Readiness System helps to generate measurable and baseline data to ensure all students are gaining the academic skills they need to succeed on the K-12 pathway and throughout their lives.

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Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232



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