Middle school student honored for ACT achievement

Published 2:49 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2019

PELHAM – Pelham Park Middle School student Conner McDonald received national recognition at Duke University for after performing exceptionally well on the ACT’s reading subtest.

Conner McDonald

McDonald, who will be entering the eighth grade in the fall, took the ACT as a seventh grader and earned an overall score of 25. Although impressive, it’s not his composite score that Duke University’s Talent Identification Program focuses on. The program recognizes students based on how well they scored on the ACT subtests – math, English, reading and science.

Out of the 46,544 Duke TIP participants nationwide who took the ACT, McDonald was one of only 113 students to achieve a perfect 36 score on one of the four ACT subtests. He scored a 36 on the reading subtest.

On May 20, he attended the Grand Recognition Ceremony on the university’s campus with his father, PHS teacher and coach, Patrick McDonald.

“We attended workshops that talked about what the next steps are and how this program can help set him up for the future,” Patrick McDonald said.

Patrick and Conner McDonald learned more about the various Duke TIP opportunities and resources available to students and families. They explored options for face-to-face and online learning that include summer experiences, distance learning and academic year programming.

“Conner knew that this was a very prestigious honor, but he was very humble about it,” Patrick McDonald said.

To be eligible for Duke TIP, students must have scored above the 95th percentile on a state assessment or above the 95th national percentile on an accepted grade-level national standardized test anytime in the past two years. Scoring 125 or above on an accepted IQ test is also acceptable. The program provides opportunities for students in fourth through 12th grade.

Enrollment in the program provides benefits such as the opportunity to take the ACT or SAT, college preparation advice, specialized publications and access to educational programs.

In addition to excelling academically, Conner McDonald is on the PPMS soccer team and is a member of Boy Scouts Troop 404.