by George Zamora
SOCORRO, N.M., July 6, 2005 – David DeVries, a Socorro student who is concurrently enrolled at both Socorro High School and New Mexico Tech, was the only college-bound student in the state and one of only 32 nationwide to achieve a perfect composite score of 36 on the April 2005 national test administration of the ACT college-entrance exam.
More than 4,000 New Mexico students and 405,000 U.S. students took the ACT during the designated April national test date.
DeVries, who currently is a senior at Socorro High School, recently earned an associate degree in general studies at New Mexico Tech and is continuing to pursue a bachelor of science degree at the state-supported research university in Socorro.
DeVries is the 17-year-old son of Patricia and Adrian Landovazo of Socorro and Bob and Liz DeVries of Las Vegas, N.M.
The ACT exam typically consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading, and science, with each test being scored on a scale of 1 to 36. A student’s ACT composite score is then based on the average of the four test scores, with 36 being the highest possible composite score.
In comparison to DeVries’ recent perfect score, the average ACT composite score for the national high school graduating class of 2004 was 20.9.
DeVries first took the ACT, while still a 7th grader at Socorro’s Sarracino Middle School, and scored a very respectable 32 on that first go-round, so the 36 he posted this past April was actually his second attempt, which he made to improve on his prior score.
The summer after 7th grade, DeVries began taking courses at New Mexico Tech as a special student.
Since then he has taken full course loads at the university during most semesters, although this past semester, under the recommendation of his faculty advisor, Tech biology professor Snezna Rogelj, he opted to take somewhat of a break from his extensive studies, and dropped down to part-time status.
Typically, DeVries takes morning classes at Socorro High School and attends afternoon and evening classes at New Mexico Tech.
“At Socorro High School, I work on completing my general requirements for graduation, along with a few humanities electives, while at Tech I concentrate mostly on science classes,” DeVries explains.
“My original goal was to graduate from Tech and go on to attend medical school,” DeVries says, “but after finding out more about some of the exciting research Dr. Rogelj is involved with, I’m now leaning toward pursuing a career in a research field — perhaps biochemistry — instead of strictly medicine.”
This coming fall semester, DeVries plans on moving into a residence hall on the New Mexico Tech campus, to more fully experience college life.
“Up until now, most of my friends have been at the high school,” he says. “Now, since a lot of them are planning on also taking classes at Tech, by living on campus I’ll still be able to see them regularly, while at the same time becoming more involved with the university community.”
In a recent letter to DeVries, which acknowledged his exceptional achievement, ACT chief executive officer Richard L. Ferguson pointed out that the Socorro student now is in an enviable position of having a choice of the widest possible range of future educational options, since ACT scores are the accepted standard for admission at virtually all U.S. colleges and universities.
“I plan on eventually going to graduate school somewhere else, other than here at New Mexico Tech,” DeVries says, “but that’s not at all a bad reflection on the university, since the people and the academic programs here are phenomenal. . . . However, since I’ve lived in Socorro all this time, I think it would be more beneficial in the long run to expand my horizons by attending a university that’s not located in my hometown.”