Natalie Hanson, a senior at Union High School, scored a 36 on the ACT, which is a perfect score. To put this in perspective, the national composite average score for 2011 was 21.1 and the composite average score for Iowa was 22.3. The test covers English, math, reading and science.
"I figured I would do pretty well on it, but I never guessed that I would get 36. I was really excited and really surprised too," Hanson said.
Union High School offers a practice test where students can take the entire timed test as preparation for the real thing. Hanson took advantage of this opportunity, but did not spend a lot of time studying for the test specifically. The test covered what she had already learned throughout her educational career.
"I didn't think it was too hard. I went back and checked all of my answers. I took time on the ones I wasn't sure about and made sure I had a good idea about why I chose that answer," Hanson said.
Hanson will have the opportunity to attend top schools and is considering majoring in Agricultural Engineering at Iowa State. Her parents, Bob and Maureen Hanson of La Porte City, both attended Iowa State. She also likes that Iowa State is close to home.
As a member of the FFA, 4H, the basketball team, band, a church youth group, student council, and NHS, Hanson is very involved. She recently participated in the FFA contest for public speaking and placed third in the state. Hanson earns good grades and is highly motivated.
"My parents have always pushed me to do my best in everything. They always told me that if they offer you extra credit, you have to do the extra credit. There is no excuse for not doing it if someone gives you a chance to do something better," Hanson said. She credits her parents for encouraging her to achieve her best.
She is detasseling this summer to earn some extra money, but has also made time to attend the FFA camp in Washington, D.C. FFA members from across the U.S. attended the event which included sightseeing, tours, and sessions about leadership and serving others.
She also plans on showing dairy cattle at the Iowa State Fair, which she has attended every year of her life. "My mom grew up showing dairy cattle, so my grandparents bring a whole bunch of people from their county and there's this big group of us and we all have our cattle stalled together. We hang out together the whole time and it's so much fun," Hanson said.
The Union Community School District has offered her the guidance she has needed since pre-school. "I love all of the teachers at Union, They are so good. There have been so many that have helped me and made sure that I was challenged. They're so supportive of everybody," Hanson said.
Senior year is approaching quickly and Hanson is looking forward to the experience. "I am really excited about being a senior. My friends and I were talking, it's going to be our last marching band show, and our last this and our last that. So that's really sad, but I'm excited to get on and go do something different," Hanson said.
Whichever path Hanson chooses, it is evident that she will give her best. Hanson certainly has a bright future ahead, but first, she will enjoy making memories during her senior year at Union High School.