Boise senior earns perfect ACT score

Nate Marshall’s parents and younger brother say he’s not normal. They describe him as extraordinary, exceptional, smart, quirky … even a little weird … but not normal.

Jake, John, Nate and Shannon Marshall

“He’s kind of a crazy one,” said his mother Shannon. “We always say he’s weird while the rest of us are pretty normal. My husband is smart, too, but not like Nate. Nate has a really strong work ethic.”

Shannon and John Marshall are successful professionals. John is an attorney who operates his own firm and Shannon is an educator who is helping John with his business. They have two boys — Nate, who will be a senior at Boise High School, and Jake, who is two years younger.

“We both have higher education degrees and certainly we have never done anything like Nate has done,” said Shannon.

Nate has a long list of academic accomplishments — including, most recently,  a perfect 36 on the ACT, a college-entrance exam. Nearly 2 million students take the ACT every year and less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the timed exam earn a perfect score.

“He’s just always been the kind of kid who enjoyed learning and tinkering with stuff and really diving deep into things,” Shannon said. “He gets into something in school and then does intense research on his own. He studies hard and he takes tests well.”

Nate owns a 4.30 grade point average — he takes AP classes and he’s never had a B or less. He has also had success as an academic team member. His National Ocean Sciences Bowl team is a two-time defending national champion, defeating four-person teams from all over the country.

“It’s an incredible accomplishment,” Shannon said.

Nate also plays the viola, captains Boise’s cross country team and loves to ride his mountain bike. He aspires to attend Stanford University.

“I like to exercise after school then study,” Nate said. “I sacrifice sleep for studying.”

Nate aced the ACT, in part, because it was the second time he took the exam.

“I got the pacing down,” Nate said. “Plus, I know math concepts and so I can figure out the science problems. I told my mom afterwards that I thought I had a perfect score, but I wasn’t really being serious. It wasn’t out of the question, but everything had to go right.”

Nate doesn’t spend much time socializing. His free time is spent tutoring his classmates at the library. He’d rather read, run or bike than hang out at the mall or cruise downtown.

The Marshalls spend a lot of time as a family rafting, hiking, biking or skiing.

“We have dinner together every night,” Nate said of his family.

Shannon said: “Nate’s social life revolves around school and his family. He’s not normal.”

Get to know Nate Marshall from these quirky questions:

  • What’s your vacation destination? Kauai, Hawaii
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Oceanographer
  • Favorite snack? Apple
  • Favorite event to participate in? National Ocean Sciences Bowl
  • Favorite event to watch? Professional tennis
  • Best invention? Airplane
  • Favorite App? Fit Brains (brain games)
  • Your favorite day include? Skiing
  • What’s your pet peeve? People standing over my shoulder and looking at what I’m doing
  • Favorite Starbucks drink? Green Tea Frappuccino
Mitchell boys
John, Nate and Jake Marshall
Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over two million pageviews a year. Jennifer has more than 35 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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