Monthly Archives: January 2020

MSM senior earns perfect ACT score

For the second year in a row, Mount St. Mary Academy’s graduating class will include at least one student with a perfect ACT score. Isabella “Bella” Boyd, a senior at Mount St. Mary Academy, earned the highest possible composite score of 36 after taking the curriculum-based achievement exam in September.


Bella discovered the feat upon waking up unexpectedly during the evening the scores were scheduled to be released. “I had woken up in the middle of the night and decided I would check the scores while I was awake,” she said. “I was very tired, but obviously thrilled.”


This was the second time Bella had taken the ACT test. She earned a 34 on her first attempt and, though happy with the result, decided to take the test again to see if she could improve her score. “Thank goodness I did,” she said.


According to a press release from ACT, fewer than half of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. graduating class of 2019, only 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million students who took the ACT scored a 36. Two students from last year’s graduating class at Mount St. Mary Academy, Anna Kate Manchester and Audrey Cummins, were part of that small group.


The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1-36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores.


In a letter recognizing this exceptional achievement, ACT CEO Marten Roorda said, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.”


Bella, who was also named a National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist in September, plans to study mechanical or material engineering in college. She has already applied to several schools including Boston University, Duke University, Lehigh University and Washington University in St. Louis.


Her advice for students still planning to take the ACT is to prepare and trust your gut. “Take a few practice tests beforehand and use process of elimination when picking your answers,” Bella said. “Also, your first guess is usually correct, so don’t second-guess yourself.”


Click here to view the story THV11 aired on January 15 that featured Bella and her accomplishment.


Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Two MSM students win in inaugural art competition

Two Mount St. Mary students were recently chosen as winning artists in the inaugural Historic Cane Hill Art Competition and Exhibition. Senior Audrey Caruthers’s pen and ink piece, The Natural State, won the second-place Juror’s Prize and a $1,000 cash award. Junior Caroline Gunderman received one of two $75 Awards of Excellence for her pencil drawing, Wisdom. The winning artists were announced during an awards ceremony in Fayetteville on Saturday, December 14.


Of the 52 pieces of artwork accepted into the competition from high school students across the state, 10 were pieces created by students at Mount St. Mary Academy. In addition to Audrey and Caroline, seniors Ireland McNally, Merritt Sage and Maria Thomas also had artwork selected for the competition and resulting exhibition. The exhibition features work from 30 Arkansas high school students and is scheduled to run through January 18 in The Museum Gallery at Historic Cane Hill near Fayetteville.


The students’ success in this new competition failed to surprise their art teachers at Mount. “We have such an incredibly talented group of students, and I am always so impressed by their ability and concepts,” Marianne Nolley, MSM art teacher, said. “I am very proud of Audrey and Caroline, especially, and look forward to seeing all of the ways in which they will continue to use their talent and thoughtfulness.”


MSM art teacher Jenny Holder agreed, calling Audrey an “artistic powerhouse that produces thoughtful, dynamic work that is way above the norm for this level.” She also described Caroline as “extremely talented,” explaining that she was able to skip from Studio Art I to Honors Studio Art III and is now one of the top in that class, skill-wise.


Historic Cane Hill, Inc., a non-profit organization based in the art-friendly community of Cane Hill in Northwest Arkansas, hosted the event as a way to celebrate the talents of the state’s young artists. Arkansas students in grades 10th-12th were invited to enter the competition, which awards a one-year, full-tuition scholarship to the University of Arkansas School of Art as well as six additional cash prizes totaling $2,000. Jurors included representatives from Historic Cane Hill, the University of Arkansas School of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and the Community Creative Center in Fayetteville.

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.