Inner city student earns high honor - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Inner city student earns high honor

KNOXVILLE, TN (CNN) - A Tennessee student scored a near perfect score on the ACT at a school that many believe is struggling academically.

Peter Talley, a 16-year old student at Austin-East Magnet School in Knoxville, TN, has been named a National Merit Scholar finalist after he earned 34 out of 36 on the ACT.

"Mostly it guarantees scholarships at a lot of schools," Peter said. "Most colleges and universities do offer scholarships for finalists that they don't offer for just being a semi-finalist."

Peter plans to study Aerospace Engineering, and has narrowed his college choices down to two.

"My first choice is Georgia Tech, so the biggest problem with that is figuring out how to pay for it," Peter said. "If that doesn't come through, I'm waiting for a decision from Yale that comes in on March 1."

Benny Perry, principal at Austin-East, said Peter is proof that inner city students can excel.

"Peter is going a long way to help us to change people's opinion about our school and let them know that a kid can get a high quality education at an inner city public high school," Perry said.

Peter says the magnet program has been very beneficial to him and he has been involved in the dance programs, as well as the strong academic courses.

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