The Grand Haven High School senior earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT. Of nearly 2.1 million students in the graduating Class of 2016, 2,235 students received perfect scores, according to a press release.
When Merriman, 17, learned of his accomplishment, it took a while for the news to set in.
“I didn’t expect to get it,” he said.
Eric Domke, a 2006 GHHS graduate, is the last student that school officials recall earning a perfect ACT score.
Grand Haven High School Principal Tracy Wilson said the accomplishment is incredible and a personal accolade. Wilson said Merriman is gifted, and his ACT score may have helped him open even more doors.
The ACT is comprised of English, reading, science and math.
Although Merriman said his classes made him feel comfortable on the test’s content, he did online prep work to get ready for the test’s format. He also took the ACT previously to see how he would perform.
That time, he earned a 34.
Merriman currently takes AP courses such as calculus, physics, and biology. A National Honor Society member, Merriman is active in extra-curricular activities including sailing club, GOTAK and the swing club.
Since fourth grade, Merriman has been involved in orchestra, and he’s currently the first chair viola in the Grand Haven High School Chamber Orchestra.
Merriman has also been a Science Olympian since sixth grade. He joined the competitive team in eighth grade.
After high school, Merriman plans to pursue a future in epidemiology, and he said a summer camp at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reaffirmed his career interest.
Merriman plans to apply to Columbia, the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins. He would like to work for the CDC.
“You get to make an impact on people’s lives,” he said.