MPS junior earns perfect ACT score, senior who earned one last year is off to Harvard

MILWAUKEE – A Milwaukee Public Schools junior has an impressive number to add to his college applications: 36.

Rufus King International School student Zhenrui Liao earned the highest possible score on the ACT college admission and placement exam.

Zhenrui Liao

Zhenrui Liao

It’s a rare feat. Last school year, just 704 of the 1.6 million students who took the test received a 36.

One of them was Liao’s older classmate, Rufus King senior Ahmee Marshall-Christensen.

Ahmee is set to head to Harvard University in the fall. Both students are involved in the full International Baccalaureate curriculum at Rufus King. The rigorous IB program, also offered at other MPS schools including Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School, was developed for the children of diplomats.

Ahmee Marshall-Christensen

Ahmee Marshall-Christensen

“My family and teachers did a great job of preparing me,” Marshall-Christensen said. His mother, Sandra Christensen said her son “worked incredibly hard. He’s bright but he’s also worked very hard. The IB program puts you through your paces.”

Zhenrui said he hopes to head to an Ivy League school as well – or perhaps Duke University or the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

“I’ve always loved to read. I’ve always loved to do math. I’ve always been very interested in science,” he said. Zhenrui said he attributes his achievement in part to family and teachers for “fostering a love of learning.”

Both students can be made available for interviews Friday morning. Interested media must contact Tony Tagliavia, MPS media manager, at 414.475.8675.