Perfect 36 Wall: Students proud and frustrated


Almost every day, I pass the “Perfect 36” wall by the administration office. The wall features the pictures of eight smiling seniors, all hung in plaques. All of those students have one big thing in common. They have all have received a “Perfect 36″ score on the ACT.

This is the second year the administration has hung up the plaques. The point of the plaques is to “recognize as many students as [we] could for their accomplishments,” said Mr. William Walsh, Assistant Principal of Operations.

Maddy Swank, senior, agrees with this sentiment. “[The wall] shows how bright our students are and it also motivates other central students to work harder so that they could be up there too.”

Walsh also stated that the plaques serve as “a symbol of Hinsdale Central as a strong academic school and why it is a great to be a Red Devil.” Madeline Capozzoli, senior, agrees with statement.

“I think that to get a 36 on the ACT is a very impressive academic feat that shouldn’t be demeaned or under appreciated in anyway. If the wall is how the students who got those scores are recognized, fantastic!”

Although I wholeheartedly sympathize with this intention, and that I think the wall does a good job of recognizing the academic achievements of the eight students featured on the wall, I fear that it pushes  Central’s already overly competitive, academically driven students in the wrong direction.

“It makes me feel like an idiot. It makes me think ‘All of these people got perfect scores. Why can’t I? Is there something wrong with me? Am I just too stupid?'” said Anjali Chacko, junior. “It may be motivating for some people, but for me, it just feeds into my unhealthily competitive nature.”

I think that the wall is a great way to feature the excellent academics of Central students, but I feel like we should showcase a wider range of scores, even if in a less dramatic way. Maybe we could have a plaque with a list of names of students who got above a 33, or maybe the school should focus just as much attention on featuring students whose accomplishments go beyond academics, like we did early this year in the pep rally that celebrated our sports teams for their accomplishments. Either way, the school should focus more on the students rather than their scores.

What do you think should happen to the Perfect 36 Wall?

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