Jayce Cochell and Boaz Goldberg

Category : Academics

2 Shadow Mountain High Juniors Earn a Perfect Score on the ACT

Friday , May 14 , 2021

Congratulations Jayce Cochell and Boaz Goldberg

Jayce Cochell and Boaz Goldberg, who are juniors in the Digital Academy for Advanced Placement Scholars (DAAPS) program at Shadow Mountain High School, earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT. According to ACT, only .334 percent of students earn a perfect score of 36. 

“We are thrilled that Jayce Cochell and Boaz Goldberg achieved perfect scores on their ACT tests this year. Jayce and Boaz are students in our Digital Academy for Advanced Placement Scholars, a prestigious and rigorous academic program that attracts some of the brightest minds and most talented students in Arizona,” said David Appleman, principal at Shadow Mountain High School.

About the Students

Jayce Cochell

Cochell won’t forget when he first found out about his ACT perfect score. He was on a skiing trip with his mom over spring break; the first real trip they’ve been on since the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020. “I hadn't checked my phone all day, but when we went up to the lodge to get lunch, I took out my phone to check my messages. I hadn't received any, but at that moment, a notification appeared from my email. I opened it and was shocked to see my score! I actually hadn't felt all that confident while taking the test, but I must have underestimated myself! I didn't tell anyone else at first because I was afraid they might be jealous or accuse me of boasting. If truth be told, I was actually a bit embarrassed. I even went a full month without telling anyone I knew at school! Eventually, though, the secret got out, and all my friends and teachers were very proud of me! Now that I'm no longer worried about what everyone else might think, I'm finally able to be proud of myself, too!”

Since the DAAPS program is based around the humanities, English, and social studies, it helps students interpret, analyze, and evaluate American literature and study advanced vocabulary. Cochell explains, “I think it's clear that these three years have helped me grow as a writer, and especially helped my analysis of literature and poetry. I used to consider literature analysis and social studies my weakest areas, but three years of DAAPS has given me the confidence in these subjects that allowed me to score my perfect ACT score!”

While Cochell has all the credits needed to graduate early, he thinks senior year will be a great opportunity to expand his search for college opportunities, get more involved with the school, and solidify a major. He added, “Actually, I think it's this multidisciplinary mindset that helped me to succeed on all four sections of the ACT! I have always been tremendously fond of languages—I'm preparing to take my sixth year of Spanish instruction next year, and simultaneously hoping to be placed into third-year French if my class schedule allows it. I'm also fascinated by mathematics and science, having just taken my AP Calculus BC Exam and anxiously awaiting my result. I've also always been drawn to creative writing. I'll have to start narrowing down in anticipation of selecting my major, but I suppose it's better to have too many interests than not enough!”

His interests outside of school include video games, sports, and working a part-time job. “I hope my success can serve as a reminder that if we dedicate ourselves to a goal and are willing to put in the time and effort necessary, there is very little we cannot accomplish,” said Cochell.

Boaz Goldberg

“I was very excited to learn that I got a perfect score on the ACT because I knew that it would help me get admitted to a great school and qualify for valuable scholarships,” said Goldberg. 

For Goldberg, the DAAPS program has been incredibly valuable in preparing him both for the ACT exam, as well as post-secondary education. He explains, “DAAPS places a heavy emphasis on reading and thinking analytically, which was incredibly valuable toward the English portions of the exam, which had been my weaker subject on previous exams like the PSAT. For college, DAAPS has helped me both to qualify for Advanced Placement credits, Which will allow me to start with preliminary credits at a variety of colleges, and to develop my writing skills and process through frequent practice, both of which are incredibly useful in any field of study.”

Goldberg’s primary interest is science, and after college, he plans to go into some sort of research. He added, “I haven't pinned down an exact subject, but molecular biology or biochemistry appeal to me. Beyond academics, music is another passion of Goldberg’s, and I’ve played the piano since kindergarten and cello since fourth grade, which has allowed me to enjoy making music and being part of a great community to this day.”


DAAPS is a Signature Program offered exclusively at Shadow Mountain High School. Courses are designed to exceed the district and state curriculum requirements and challenge gifted or honors students. Students read, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literature. Interdisciplinary courses are part of the curriculum and students focus on four areas: the critical evaluation of texts, English syntax, grammar, college-level research, and interdisciplinary writing.

About the ACT

Each year, approximately 2 million high school students take the ACT. The ACT is a standardized entrance exam that is used in the college admissions process and measures a high school student's readiness for college.