Orem high student with perfect ACT score will join BYU in Fall 2001


    By Sarah Lane

    At a university where high test scores have become the average, it takes a lot to turn the heads of leaders in academia.

    But one student has done just that – and will be joining the ranks of the BYU Cougars in Fall 2001.

    Ben Crowder was one of only two students in the nation to get a perfect score on the ACT exam in 2000. But the Hinckley Scholar finalist is not letting his nationally acclaimed accomplishments change who he is or what he stands for.

    “It was nice,” he said. “But in a few years, people won”t even remember it.”

    The main factor that sets Ben Crowder apart from other high school seniors is his background in home education.

    Ben Crowder and his mother Tina Crowder credit home schooling as the essential tool in allowing Ben to indulge his love of learning.

    “With public school, you lack the individual nurturing that children need,” Ben Crowder said.

    An avid supporter of stay-at-home mothering, Tina Crowder started teaching Ben at a very early age.

    By three, Ben Crowder had basic reading skills, and at age five he tested at a fourth grade level, Tina Crowder said.

    The schools did not have anything to offer and told us to keep him at home, she said.

    Ben”s successes did not stop there. His love of learning could hardly be satiated. When he was 12 he taught himself basic computer programming language with the help of some manuals he checked out of the library.

    At 13, he went to Orem High School to take a course in AP computer science. Soon after, he published an article in the Linux Journal, an international computer magazine with a publication of over 60,000.

    By the time Ben Crowder was 14, he was working part time as a software tester for a local computer company.

    “They called him Doogie Howser,” Tina Crowder said.

    Currently, Ben Crowder is a student at Orem High School, but is enrolled with non-diploma status. This means he takes classes that fit his learning interests. It also means he will be ineligible for a diploma.

    “By not having to worry about the diploma, I was able to go into AP English without worrying about the other English credits I”d missed,” Ben Crowder said.

    Tina Crowder said colleges are not looking for a high school diploma.

    They look for the test scores and the difficultly level of classes taken, she said.

    Even so, Tina Crowder said these are not a complete measure of Ben”s ability.

    “(The resulting ACT score) was a natural by-product of the life he”d been living,” she said. “It wasn”t an indication of what he knew.”

    And for Ben Crowder, learning is not about a high score but a constant metamorphosis of change.

    “Learning is the reason we”re here,” he said.

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