Lauren May at Traverse City Central High School in Traverse City on Thursday.

TRAVERSE CITY — One. Six. Zero. Zero.

Lauren May had a to wait a little longer than expected to see those four numbers finally pop up on her computer screen, but delayed perfection still is perfection.

The Traverse City Central High School junior found out her SAT score was flagged for review when she checked on it last month. May kept refreshing the website and waited.

While she waited, May texted her friends to see if they received their scores. One of them joked that May must have scored a 1,600 on the exam — a perfect score was the only logical reason why it would have been flagged, right?

May’s friend was 100 percent correct.

“It was kind of a roller coaster that day,” May said. “I just remember the white floating screen with the black number in the middle of it. Once it actually happened, you get that really excited feeling in your chest and your throat.”

May let out a stifled scream when she saw her score, but it was loud enough to get the attention of her dad.

“I just said ‘I did it,’ and he knew what I was talking about,” May said.

May is an anomaly. Better yet, the math whiz is a statistical infrequency.

Of the more than 2 million students who take the SAT every year, less than .5 percent reach perfection.

The 1,600 shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to May. She did get a perfect score on her PSAT as a freshman, after all.

May also spent the past two years going over all of the sample reading questions from the online SAT resources she used to study. Every one of them.

Her dedication does not go unnoticed.

Traverse City Central Principal Jessie Houghton marveled at May’s “drive and constant persistence.”

“That’s what sets her apart from other students here,” Houghton said.

May’s flare for mathematics set her apart as well.

Julie Puckett, head of the math department at Central, had May as a sophomore in her trigonometry and pre-calculus classes. Puckett is also the advisor for National Honor Society, of which May is a member.

Puckett said May is “one of the most adept young mathematicians” she has ever worked with or taught.

“She sees connections between content and topics that a lot of students miss,” she said. “There’s a lot of subtleties she sees. She’s incredibly astute in her thinking.”

May’s perfect score only surprises Puckett because the percentage of students to accomplish feat is so small. But May achieving perfection is no surprise at all.

“She’s had that tenacity to really work through difficult problems. She has that perseverance that some students just don’t have,” Puckett said. “That’s how you get to a 1,600.”

May credits her teachers and their help and support for her successes. Giving back to them drove her to be better.

“There isn’t a single teacher — zero — whom I can’t credit for some part of my success and interest in learning,” she said. “I wanted to prove, quantitatively, that they were effective and impactful to me.”

May goes into her senior year with a perfect SAT score in her back pocket. She said she’ll continue to run track and cross country and participate in band. She also is set to become one of the presidents of the SEA Club (Students for Environmental Advocacy) while volunteering with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, which advocates for clean air and safe drinking water as basic needs.

May will keep taking difficult classes as a senior, including several AP courses, and will be dual-enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College. She hasn’t yet decided which college or university to attend following graduation. She sees herself possibly double majoring in math and environmental science in the hopes of finding a way to “make these two seemingly very different subjects come together in a career.”

If anyone can make those two add up, it’s probably May.

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