William Floyd High School senior Farihah Chowdhury has achieved a perfect score of 36 on the ACT standardized test used for college admissions.
According to the ACT organization, less than three-tenths of 1% of students who took the ACT exam earned a perfect score. For the graduating class of 2019, only 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million graduates achieved this academic feat.
The average score nationwide is 20.7. This places Farihah, a 17-year-old from Shirley, in the top .03% of students who took the ACT.
For Arianna Scanlon, Farihah’s guidance counselor, the achievement does not come as a surprise.
“Farihah is the epitome of an all-around student,” Scanlon said. “Her academic skills are some of the best that I have seen throughout my time as a school counselor. She currently takes our most difficult coursework offered, while finding time to immerse herself in her local community and numerous clubs and extracurricular activities.”
Throughout her high school career, Farihah has taken 14 Advanced Placement courses and 13 honors/accelerated courses, and she is currently ranked among the top of her class.
In science, she has been part of the science research program throughout her high school career. She has won multiple awards at various science research competitions including the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and the Long Island Science Congress.
One of the main focuses of her award-winning research was analyzing the pathogens present within lone star ticks. She has had the opportunity to conduct research at the Brookhaven National Laboratory National Synchrotron Lightsource and had her research published in multiple publications. She is also part of the Science Honors Program at Columbia University.
Farihah is a four-year member of the National Honor Society currently serving as its president; is a four-year member of student government; a four-year member of Youth & Government; a four-year member of the varsity swim team (two-year captain); a three-year member of the Business Honor Society currently serving as its president; Mock Trial, Future Business Leaders of America, the Science Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society – she plays the violin, and had a stint as a member of the Chamber Orchestra in 10th grade.
In addition to all of that, she has had time to work with Girls Inc., an organization designed to embolden and power girls and young women, volunteer at Stony Brook University Hospital and earn her Girl Scout Gold Award by building an outdoor garden space at her former pre-school, Bay Area Head Start in Shirley.
As part of this project, she created a lesson plan on plants and the environment. She described this experience as “heartwarming” as it gave her the opportunity to introduce the youngsters to ideas that they did not know about and are relevant to their futures. “Seeing their faces light up was absolutely amazing.”
As a sophomore, in December 2017 Farihah scored an 800 on her Math Level II SAT in December 2017 as a sophomore. She also scored a 1550 out of a possible 1600 on her SAT.
Farihah credits her parents, who emigrated from Bangladesh in 1990, as inspiration for her success.
“They worked extremely hard to make a living for themselves,” said Farihah, who described her mother in particular as working low-wage jobs to save up and pay for college to pave a way for a higher-earning career. “My mother’s story might seem like many immigrants who have come here, but the drive that she depicts and her will to do anything she can to better the lives of her family is unique and has inspired me to better myself.”
Farihah’s brother, Shadman, is a graduate of William Floyd High School, Class of 2015, and is currently serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Farihah describes getting a perfect score on the ACT as her proudest academic achievement and discovering herself and her path in high school as her proudest personal achievement. “The freedom of high school allowed me to explore all of my interests and pursue anything my heart desired, and that was key in the process of figuring out the topics I wanted to study in college and potential career paths,” she said.
Farihah has not disclosed her top college choices, but she plans on studying neuroscience and becoming a medical doctor. She has also shown interest in computer science and coding.
Above: Farihah Chowdhury, right, with her guidance counselor, Arianna Scanlon.