Zach Carter made history for Powell High School as one of the few students in the country to make a perfect score on the ACT.
Carter took the test during the spring semester of his junior year and waited a week longer than his peers to receive his score.
“I was pretty relieved,” Carter said. “They called me down to the guidance counseling office to surprise me. It was pretty special.”
To make the accomplishment even more impressive, Carter has dealt with vision problems all his life. He was born with motor nystagmus, an involuntary movement of the eyes, and said he “didn’t really have sight until a few months into my childhood.”
The Powell High senior received training and assistance through Knox County Schools to “help me work at a comparable standard to everyone else around me,” he said.
His mother, Stephanie Carter, said she is proud of her son and how he overcomes his obstacles.
“He’s never let his vision hold him back from what he wants to do,” she said. “He just pushes through it and finds a different way of accomplishing it.”
Principal Dr. Chad Smith believes Carter sets an example for younger students.
“When you let school work for you, look what it can do,” he said. “There should be no excuses. I think that’s the true testament.”
Carter credits his ACT success to teacher Micaiah Smoker’s ACT prep “boot camp.” PHS students of all ages are invited to attend a three-hour, Saturday morning course for test-taking tips, practice tests, and goal-setting. Smoker said students who attend generally see a two- to three-point increase in their score.
“Professionally, it made me feel like the work has been put in,” Smoker said, regarding Carter’s achievement following the boot camp. “It’s a monumental thing for him and Powell High School.”
What’s the next step for this soon-to-be graduate? Carter recently toured Ohio State University and the University of Tennessee, taking particular interest in their marching band and engineering programs.
He said he hopes to continue participating in the band while working towards his dream career of becoming a roller coaster engineer.
Regardless of where Carter decides to continue his education, he will be remembered at Powell High School.
“That accomplishment is something we’ll still be talking about long after Zach’s moved on, to show that it can be done with extra hard work, determination, and the right attitude,” Smith said.