March 07, 2018ALMONT — Is perfection possible?
It is for 17-year-old Almont High School junior Max Brombach who recently scored a perfect 36 on his ACT Test.
The son of Judy and Robert Brombach, Max is currently ranked 1st in Almont's Class of 2019 with a 4.22 grade point average.
Max admits he doesn't have all the answers, but he got enough of them right on his ACT to garner lots of local attention and the admiration and respect of his teachers and classmates.
Max Brombach says he's feeling no added pressure, even though he scored a perfect 36 on his ACT test; a rare feat by any standards. photo by Tom Wearing.
By any stretch, Max does not fit the so-called "egghead" description often assigned to young people who excel in academics.
He has played JV and varsity football and baseball the past three years and plays alto saxophone in the Raiders' marching and concert bands.
Along with his extracurricular participation as a 'Mathlete' and member of the school's Math Competition team, it is remarkable that he finds any time at all for studying.
But he does.
"Some things may come natural for me," Max said, "but I still have to work hard to complete all of my work on time.
"With my sports, I have to devote certain times for studying — including on weekends," he said. "There are days when I have no homework at all, but others when I have more than two hours of it."
Having achieved the best-possible score on the ACT, Max nevertheless feels as he always had about his academic accomplishments.
"I don't feel any more pressure than usual," he said. "People have always told me I'm smart. So I'm used to it.
"When I was a kid, my parents pushed me hard," Max recalled. "They taught me to read books early, and my older sister (now a teacher in Quincy, Michigan) helped me with numbers and math when I was about 3 or 4 years old. "Even now, if I get an A-minus on something, my parents feel it is not up to snuff."
Because of his innate skills in math and science, Max plans to seek a degree in engineering, though he has yet to determine a specific field of study.
Though he can now add a perfect ACT score to his college resume, Max has tentatively narrowed his choices to the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Trine University, a private school his sister, Alayna, attended in northern Indiana.
Formerly known as Tri-State University, the school offers degrees in engineering, business, arts and sciences, education, and health sciences.
Max said he plans to tour Michigan and MSU along with his parents during the upcoming spring break.
Almont Schools Supt. Dr. William Kalmar said he has talked to other area school superintendents and none of them can recall another local student scoring a 36 on his/her ACT.
"Max's accomplishment is a reflection of his hard work and the efforts of his parents," said Kalmar. "His record shows he never takes the easy route as a student.
"He has taken advantage of our Advanced Placement and engineering courses, while being involved in sports and our instrumental music program.
"I like to think that all of our programs from kindergarten on, have provided Max with opportunities to thrive as a learner.
"I hope other students see Max as proof that if they apply themselves, they can compete with elite students across the United States; despite coming from a smaller high school."
Max agreed there are some advantages to growing up and attending school in a small town like Almont.
"You get to know your teachers a lot better," he said. "Because of email and other communication, we're able to ask our teachers questions even when we're not in the classroom.
"Our teachers in Almont usually get back to us quickly to answer any questions," he continued. "They have been very helpful and supportive of me."
While not wanting to burst his own bubble, Max made a point of acknowledging that his ACT scores were not exactly perfect.
"You don't have to get every question right," said Max. "They go by composite scores in four sections; English, math, reading and science. I got two 36s and two 35s—which came out to a 36."
According to statistics, a perfect 36 is the rarest score of all. Just 0.136% of all test takers earn a perfect ACT score, which is almost five times less than students earning the next-highest score of 35.
A 35 is still a very rare score, in that only 0.610% of test takers achieve that score.
Challenges lay ahead
All generations have had to deal with challenges unique to their times, but Max expects his generation to face challenges much greater than those that exist today.
"There needs to be reasonable people willing to do what they must to solve problems," he said. "I think today's young people are better able to identify problems and more likely to solve them.
"As it is, too many people are stubborn and unwilling to change, even when there is evidence to the contrary," he said. "We have to get past the habit of loyalty to parties when we know they are wrong.
"My biggest worry is that we could reach a point where it becomes too late to solve some of our problems."
ABCs of the ACT
Because of the use of composite scores, ACT test takers can get two 35s and two 36s, or one 34 and three 36s, and still earn a perfect score.
If students get just one 33 in any of the four areas, they automatically become ineligible for a perfect ACT score.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.