It's pretty typical for incoming high school seniors to spend their summers plotting out their college careers. That's about the only thing typical when it comes to Haniyah Burney.
"Any really big test I’ve taken, I always leave the test room, and I’m like-- okay, that went well, don’t think about it," she says.
The 17-year-old Byron Nelson High School student had already scored a nearly perfect 1560 on her SAT when her mother pushed her to give the ACT a try.
"I knew going in she could do well," says mother Shajia Jaffery.
"I was in my bed on my phone when my friend texted me scores have come out, so I checked, not really expecting that much-- I saw a 36. I kinda stared at it, refreshed the page, is this real?" Burney said.
It was real.
"It says 'Dear Haniyah, congratulations on your outstanding performance on the ACT test,'" her mother reads from a letter sent by the ACT office.
Haniyah scored a perfect 36.
According to the Northwest ISD, Haniyah is the first student ever at Byron Nelson to get a perfect score on the ACT. She’s also part of a broader elite group. Less than .1 of all the students who take the test get a perfect score.
"The ACT and SAT are important definitely, and I feel very blessed and lucky to have gotten a good score," Haniyah says. "But one of my teachers, Mr. Nichols, used to tell me—it’s a score. You are so much more as a person."
She's brought that advice to life, with extracurricular and philanthropic activities including violin and Junior World Affairs Council. She has her sights set on Stanford University and wants to eventually become a psychiatrist, to help those with mental health issues.
Her mother says she's long tried to instill in Haniyah the words of her grandmother.
"She always said you could take away money and land, but an education is yours for life," Jaffery says.
"You told me that!" Haniyah exclaims. "She told me that in like elementary school, and it’s stuck with me."
Advice this young woman has obviously taken to heart.
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