Acing the ACT

14-year-old boy performs well on test

ISHPEMING — Who takes an ACT test for fun?

Hunter LeClair does.

Hunter, 14, who will be a freshman at Westwood High School, earlier this summer took his ACT after finishing eighth grade at Aspen Ridge School, scoring higher than 96 percent of all students who took the test in the United States.

With a cumulative score of 31, he also scored perfectly in science and reading and performed well in mathematics and English.

The ACT test is a popular college entrance exam based on what students learn in high school.

It was his stepmother Jessica’s idea for him to take the test.

So, take the test he did, at Northern Michigan University.

“I didn’t really know what to think,” Hunter said about learning his exceptional score.

You might think science and reading are his favorite subjects, but actually it’s math.

There’s a reason for Hunter scored lower in that subject.

“As I am only going into freshman year, there were a lot of, like, senior-level questions on there, pretty much, and those I couldn’t really get,” Hunter said.

Reading was less of a problem.

“I’ve always been a good reader, like, since I picked up a book,” Hunter said. “Didn’t get it from my dad. My dad hates to read.”

Not surprisingly, Hunter maintained a 3.9 grade point average at Aspen Ridge. However, his life is well-rounded, having been involved in sports camps all summer. He’s now getting into football practice as well.

Whatever his prowess on the athletic field, his high ACT score seemingly would give him an academic boost of confidence whether he needed it or not.

“Since middle school mostly, but even before that, since like fourth grade, I’ve always been, like, able to get through classes pretty easily, and especially up when I got into middle school,” Hunter said. “I hardly even had to pay attention, and it got me in trouble with some of my teachers.”

His dad, Dave, said: “Never seen him with a book.”

Hunter acknowledged that’s been a problem, noting he might have scored a perfect score on the ACT had he studied more.

Heredity, though, probably played a part in Hunter’s academic success.

“I guess I was born with one of the best gifts somebody can be born with, and that’s really the ability to learn very easily,” Hunter said.

However, Hunter also credited his success in part to his Aspen Ridge math teacher, Nicole Hyttinen, calling her one of the best teachers he ever had.

“She explained math in a very unorthodox way,” Hunter said. “If you just looked at how we did math, coming from any other teacher it probably would be weird to understand, but the way she taught it, it made it easy to learn for most people.”

Hunter will have new experiences at Westwood, but his confidence isn’t dimmed.

“I feel I should probably be able to do the same thing in high school,” Hunter said. “It’s going to be harder because I’m taking two math classes this year. One is the normal class for a sophomore and one is the normal class for a junior.”

Since Hunter wants to attend college, he will take the ACT again. Following his post-secondary education, he plans to take his interest in space to a professional level by being an aeronautical engineer — a goal he’s had since the third grade.

“I’ve pretty much always wanted to design something since I knew what a career was, whether it was building Legos, it was drawing, etc.,” Hunter said.

Even if he doesn’t become an aeronautical engineer, Hunter desires to be an engineer of some sort, with his “dream” college being the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his “realistic” college being the University of Michigan.

“Most people don’t know this, but U of M actually has a top 10 engineering program, like, in the whole country,” Hunter said.

Hunter’s stepmother, Jessica, said it was no surprise Hunter scored so well on the ACT since he’s always performed well in school.

“He really just loves to learn,” Jessica said. “He kind of had the idea he wanted to take the ACT for fun.”

The ACT. For fun. On the first Saturday after school ended for the year at 8 in the morning. But that’s Hunter LeClair.

“He’s got some pretty big plans for his adult life, so he’s well on track, I think, to achieve those,” Jessica said.

Said Hunter: “I’ve always had an interest in space and planes, and I guess all of that kind of meshes together.”

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is