Student of the Week: Mater Dei senior scores perfect 36 on ACT

Mater Dei football player gets perfect score on ACT

Student of the Week Quintin Potthast of Mater Dei Catholic High School scored a 36 on the ACT. His advice for others taking the test is to relax.
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Student of the Week Quintin Potthast of Mater Dei Catholic High School scored a 36 on the ACT. His advice for others taking the test is to relax.

When Quintin Potthast got his ACT score, he had to go walk around the halls of Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese for a while.

Quintin had taken the test three times before, but was unsatisfied with his scores — 30 the first time, then 33 the second two times, out of a total possible 36.

“I looked at different scores and realized I needed the writing portion,” Quintin said. “So I went back and took it one more time.”

His final score was a perfect 36.

His mother, Susan Potthast, said she was very happy for her son when she saw Quintin’s score. She even checked the score after a couple of days just to make sure they hadn’t made a mistake.

“I was ecstatic,” she said. “It’s hard to put into words the exact feeling — sort of surreal... We (his dad and I) are very proud of Quintin. We have always stressed the importance of academics, but equally important to us is that Quintin is a good kid.”

Q: How did you feel when you saw your ACT score?

A: “I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to feel... All I could think of was, ‘What can I do now? How many opportunities do I have?’”

Q: What advice would you give other people who are planning to take the ACT?

A: “So many people get so tense, the only thing I can say helped me was going in relaxed. Go with what you know, and make yourself comfortable.”

Q: Where are you considering going to school?

A: “I’ve applied to Duke, Notre Dame, Cornell, University of Illinois, Vanderbilt, Stanford and I was accepted into Bradley before I got the score... (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is starting to look like a bigger contender — I think that’s a place I could do well.”

Q: What other activities do you have outside of school?

A: “I’m a student ambassador (telling younger children about Mater Dei). I do Model U.N. (United Nations), W.Y.S.E. (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering), Future Business Leaders of America and teach faith formation at (Aviston Grade School). I’m going to be volunteering with Operation Safe Kids... which teaches grade-school kids home safety skills. And there’s football, of course, and I’ll play baseball in the spring.”

Q: What’s your favorite activity?

A: “Volunteering with Community Link, which helps disabled people get jobs... They have dinners and dances, and I help serve the food and I’ll go out and dance with them. My older half-brother has a mental disability, and I like to volunteer there, because I know how much it means to him... I love seeing the look on the people’s faces. They are so genuinely happy that I’m there with them.”

Q: And in your spare time?

A: “I work on the farm — it’s good physical labor and lets me make a little extra money.”

Q: What do you plan to do after college?

A: “I’d like to work in mechanical engineering with an agricultural focus, maybe make those big machines I’m working with on the farm.”

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald

About Quintin Potthast

  • Age: 17
  • School: Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese
  • Grade: senior
  • Clubs and activities: football, baseball, W.Y.S.E., Model U.N., student ambassador, Future Business Leaders of America
  • Volunteer work: Community Link, Operation Safe Kids, teaching Faith Formation
  • Favorite class: calculus
  • Time spent on homework: about 1 hour a night
  • ACT score: 36
  • Favorite past-time: volunteering with Community Link and working on the family farm
  • Favorite food: spaghetti
  • Favorite restaurant: Wally’s in Breese
  • Family: parents Dan and Susan Potthast, brothers Zach Owens, 26; and Drew Potthast, 16