Focused mind, empty bladder help metro-east student to perfect ACT score

Good just wasn’t good enough. Really, great wasn’t even good enough. Evan Capelle was striving for perfection. And he nailed it.

On his third try, the Highland High School senior scored a 36 on the ACT, the highest possible composite score on the college assessment test.

“I just had a bad morning the first time I took it. The second time I took it, I had to go to the bathroom really badly and didn’t focus very well. This time, I didn’t have either of those problems. I was having a really good morning, and I went to the bathroom before the test, so (I) felt better about it,” Capelle said.

The first two scores that weren’t good enough, a 32 and a 34, respectively.

“The first time I took it, after getting out of there, I thought that I didn’t do my best. And, I was just becoming acclimated with the structure of the test and how it works, and how I needed to time myself, so I knew I could do better,” Capelle said.

That is no surprise to his teachers.

“I’ve been Evan’s honors English teacher for two years,” said Danielle Case, advanced placement literature teacher at Highland High. “He is as determined, kind and caring as he is bright. He has always been insightful. He’s just one of those kids who, when he ends up on your class roster, you’re excited because he brings positive attributes to the class.”

Capelle wants to study biomedical engineering in college.

“I’ve always liked science, so I guess that shows in my major choice. I’ve taken engineering classes at Highland all four years of high school. It’s been really interesting for me,” Capelle said.

Chris Durbin, Highland’s Project Lead the Way teacher, said Capelle has a bright future.

“At Highland High, we give our kids the opportunity to excel beyond local and state expectations. Evan is a great representative of the students who, like him, have no limits on their success or their ability to learn,” Durbin said. “I’ve known Evan for four years through the engineering program, and I enjoy discussing things with him that challenge my own knowledge and skill set.”

Capelle’s top choice for college is Washington University in St. Louis. His family has roots at the school. His mother, Michele, a physical therapist, got her master’s degree there. His dad, Bruce, is an architect; he earned his bachelor’s from Washington University.

“We were completely thrilled upon learning of his perfect score. We are excited to see how the opportunities unfold for him as he applies to colleges.” his mother said.

He’s also considering St. Louis University and Northwestern.

In his spare time, Capelle works at Rural King and plays varsity soccer. A graduate of St. Paul Catholic Grade School in Highland, he is also active in his church’s youth ministry. He is also a member of the National Honor Society and other groups at HHS.

“Evan is a hardworking and busy young man,” his mother said.

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. On average, less than  1/10 of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2016, only 2,235 out of nearly 2.1 million graduates who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36.

It is becoming more common at Highland High School, though. Capelle is the second student at HHS to accomplish the feat in as many years.

Caleb Denby, also a senior this year, scored perfect on the exam when he took it last year. Denby has applied for acceptance to several top-tier schools and is in the process of deciding where he wants to go. He’s interested in computers and engineering.

About Evan Capelle

  • Age: 17
  • School: Highland High School
  • Wants to study: Biomedical engineering
  • Family: He is the son of Michele and Bruce Capelle of Highland and the second-oldest of four children. His sister Emily, 20, is studying interior design at Maryville University in St. Louis, and he has two younger brothers, Andrew, 13, and Benjamin, 11. His proud grandparents are Tom and Phyllis Korte and Margie and the late Paul Capelle of Highland.