Spotlight: James Vu

Ireland Shelton, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Taking the ACT can be stressful and difficult time for students. There is a lot of pressure is put on doing well on the test because many colleges and universities use it for admission decisions.
Because of this, it is merely an impossible dream for most test takers to earn a perfect score.
But not for North senior James Vu.
Vu took the ACT three times. The first two times he earned a 35, one point away from a perfect score. The third time, he scored a 36.
“[It was] upsetting the second time [when I didn’t get a 36 but] third time’s a charm,” Vu said.
How does one earn a perfect score on a tough standardized test where the average ACT score in 2019 was a 20.7? Vu has his own ways.
“[I] studied less for each test,” Vu said. “[I took] lots of practice exams and got the same score. On the last one, [I took] no practice tests and felt the best about it.”
Freshman Jacob Vu, James’ younger brother says that James had his own ways of focusing before the test.
“He locked himself in his room to [get] focused on the test a few nights before,” Jacob Vu said.
Despite having older brother, John also earning a 36, James says there was no extreme pressure from his family.
“[My] mom was very supportive and didn’t care about grades.” Vu said. “[She just] wanted [me] to try,”
Vu did use his older brother as a driving force to push himself to succeed. He also thinks that the treatment and celebration he is receiving is a little much.
“[It’s] just a number,” Vu said. “[It’s just] a part of you; it doesn’t define you.”
Vu has big goals for the future which is another motivating factor. He wants to study chemical engineering at a Big 10 school in order to work with biofuels and make non-ecofriendly jobs to be more ecofriendly.
“[I] don’t want to perpetuate global warming,” Vu said.