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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: GHS' Austin Egbert got a 36 on his ACT

  • Austin Egbert, Girard High School senior, has brought honor on himself and his school.

    He is the first GHS student to achieve an ACT top composite score of 36, the highest possible score.

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  • Austin Egbert, Girard High School senior, has brought honor on himself and his school.
    He is the first GHS student to achieve an ACT top composite score of 36, the highest possible score.
    “We’ve had some students who achieved a score of 35, and some who earned perfect scores in specific areas of the test, but Austin is the first to get a 36,” said Linda Knoll, gifted education teacher.
    The son of Clark and Ann Egbert, he said that he took the ACT three times, first in seventh grade as part of the Duke University TIP Program, which identifies gifted children and provides resources to nurture the development of these youngsters.
    “He was sick that day and had a fever, but did amazingly well,” his mother said in an earlier interview.
    In fact, Egbert placed in the top 3 percent of the 65,000 Duke TIP students in 16 states who took the test that year.
    “I also took the test in December 2011 in my junior year and got a 35,” he said. “I decided to wait until spring, took it again in April, and that’s when I got the 36.”
    Egbert said he did some studying in special books for his third ACT exam, but credits his high score to something much more basic.
    “It was mostly just paying attention in class,” he said. “It doesn’t do any good to sit in class and not pay attention. You’re just wasting your time. I’ve always been decent at test taking, so it came naturally in that sense. I think the main difference is being exposed to what I have been in school. In seventh grade, my lowest score was in math, which makes sense because I hadn’t been exposed to anything beyond seventh grade math.”
    Egbert and fellow GHS senior Hayden Bauer were also recognized as 2013 National Merit Commended Students, an honor given to those who score in the top 5 percent of those who participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
    He believes that it has been an advantage for him to go to a school in a small town.
    “Things can be done on a more personal basis ,” he said. “If you show you are interested in certain things, people are willing to work with you.”
    In addition to his GHS teachers, he gives credit to Mark Thompson, Pittsburg State University, who has helped him with technical problems along the way.
    Egbert plans on attending Baylor University, Waco, Texas, and will be staying in the new Engineering and Computer Science Residential College.
    “It’s opening this fall, so I’ll be part of the first class to stay in it,” Egbert said. “There are study areas where students can get together and work on projects, and computer labs with engineering software installed for students to use.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He added that slots in the facility are usually reserved for upperclassmen.
    “The application process started in December and I had to write an essay,” Egbert said. “It’s a real honor to get in as an incoming freshman.”
    He’s not sure about his career path yet.
    “I do know I want to go into the electrical engineering and computer path, but there are so many areas there,” Egbert said. “When I get to college and experience those areas, then I can decide which I want to dedicate myself to.”
    He is sure that he wants to be able to design things.
    “I want to make things other people haven’t made before,” Egbert said.
    One example, a cube lamp that displays a variety of shifting colors, sits on Knoll’s GHS office desk. Egbert designed and created it, but concluded that it was too time-consuming to produce on a profitable basis.
    His electrical and computer interests started early. At the age of 14 he built his own computer, taking an old Nintendo case, removing the parts and replacing them with computer parts. He hooked it up to a TV monitor with a cordless keyboard and mouse, and the computer even had a USB port so it could get on the Internet. The record book he kept on the project won the Happy Hustlers 4-H Club member the title of 2009 Electric Energy grand champion at the Crawford County Fair.
    Egbert was also a 4-H junior grand champion in 4-H food and has won numerous honors in 4-H rabbitry projects.
    As well, he is active in the GHS FFA chapter, and has won a state proficiency award in small animal production and care - entrepreneurship.
    “Austin made top honors in the categories he competed in at the FFA state conference and qualifies for nationals,” Knoll said. “His teacher informed me that Austin was rated at No. 2 nationally of 50,000 students in a recent FFA scholarship merit competition.”
    Music is another interest. He played saxophone in the GHS band and since first grade has taken piano lessons.
    “I started because my parents wanted me to, but didn’t practice near as much as I should have,” Egbert said. “I didn’t really dislike it, but in eighth grade something clicked and I actually really, really enjoyed playing complex, beautiful music.”
    Audiences can hear him play the first movement of the “Moonlight Sonata” between “Midnite” and “The Grip of Fate” at 7 p.m. today in the John E. Shireman Performance Center, GHS.
    “Austin also works for the newspaper, volunteers, is always helpful and well-liked,” Knoll said. “He is truly by all measures a Renaissance scholar.”

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