Cameron Clarke: Black Teen From Philadelphia Gets Perfect Score on SAT

Cameron Clarke: Black Teen From Philadelphia Gets Perfect Score on SAT

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Cameron Clarke, an African-American teen from Philadelphia, attained a perfect score on this year’s Scholastic Aptitude Test, joining an elite group of 360 U.S. students.

More than 1.66 million pupils took the college preparatory test in the spring of 2011, but Clarke, a Germantown Academy senior, was among the few to score a perfect 2,400. His target college: Princeton University.

It was an achievement that the teenager, in his humility, didn’t want to “brag or boast” about, said his father, Peter Clarke, in an interview with BlackAmericaWeb.com.

“He really didn’t want anyone to know about his score, so he didn’t tell anyone at Germantown Academy about it when he got the result in June,” said the elder Clarke, manager of the The Jamaican Reef Restaurant and Lounge in South Philadelphia’s upscale Penn’s Landing neighborhood.

Clarke’s extraordinary feat began receiving public attention after Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong heard about it “through happenstance,” his father said, and published the news in her column.

“He is the one who set all this in motion,” said the elder Clarke of his child’s accomplishment. And, the gratified parent said he told his son, “I am very proud of you, but I am also very happy for you, because you did this on your own.”

In an interview with the Inquirer’s Armstrong, the 18-year-old scholar said his perfect score required hard work and perseverance. This was the second time Clarke took the test—the first time he scored 2,190, which is better than 98.5 percent of all test-takers. However, the high-schooler knew it did not reflect his full potential.

“I put in a lot of work,” Clarke said. “I took a prep class with some of my friends, and I did a lot of practice tests from a book.

“But that only prepares you so much,” he added. “The difference between getting, like, a 2,400 and a couple of points lower is just focus.

“You can screw up or mess up on the smallest of things. And I just feel like on that particular day, I was focused and I got kind of lucky, I guess, that I didn’t make any mistakes.”

But Clarke had also shown extraordinary ability from an early age. His parents, Mary Jones, a Spanish teacher at Father Judge High School, and his father, the restaurant manager, took him for an IQ test at age 4. He scored a 151

And he distinguished himself during his time at Germantown Academy, which he attended since pre-school. Clarke is first cellist in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, is also a member of Germantown Academy’s Math Club, a math tutor, writes for the school newspaper and a member of the school’s cross country team.

Young Clarke is “an extraordinary young man who represents all the best things of his generation,” said Richard Schellhas, the headmaster of Germantown Academy’s Upper School, in an interview with BlackAmericaWeb. “He is smart, funny and a true Renaissance man in the breadth of his talent.”

This year’s SAT saw the largest class of test-takers in history, according to officials, and also the most diverse. Forty-five percent of test-takers were minority students (up from 44 percent in the class of 2011 and 38 percent in the class of 2008).

34 COMMENTS

  1. Hello america this is the type of man that we should be paying attention too.why is itb that he’s not getting a shoe endorsement.i’ll tell you why because our society looks at basket ball player more vaulable than an educated mind.this man should be the first to get an endorsement or a pepsi commercial.i hate micheal jordan , we have made him a god he’s just another good black ball player that’s it that’s all.Cameron is my hero he’s the one I lift up ask micheal jordan to show you his college transcript.

  2. An amazing accomplishment, only superseded by perseverance and sacrifice. These are the standards in education and life to emulate. We have come a long way from when it was against the law for teaching a black man to read, it says a lot about our struggle, and continued journey. I am proud of him and wish I was more like him.

  3. I am so proud of him and his family. We should be pushing all of our kids in this direction instead of praying that they make it is sports —or heaven forbid they wind up on reality TV. This is the kind of celebrity I can pay attention to.

  4. You are a really a young American hero with great self esteem! Thank you for paving a route which leads to success. As an ideal mentor for your peers, it is my prayer that you continue to focus on being a blessing to others as you are truly blessed with success from Christ.

  5. What most peeked my interest in this story, was the fact that, “the first time he scored 2,190, which is better than 98.5 percent of all test-takers” and Cameron wrote it again. If I had scored better than 98.5 percent of all test takers I would have stopped there, but Cameron you are the total embodiment of excellence. Princeton get ready! I send my blessings and well wishes for all the greatness to come. Please enjoy the moment, don’t live too much in the future, your ancestors are smiling down on you right now 🙂

  6. This gives me so much hope that when I reach retirement age I have a good chance of collecting my social security. It warms my heart to see and hear of young men like Mr. Clarke doing the darn thing; not all of our young Black youth are into something bad, they find salvation in a book. I as well as my son can learn a thing or two or three from this young man. God Bless you baby.

  7. As a father of high achieving Black children, Cameron please know that you we need your light to shine as brightly as possible in order to light the way for other students to strive to reach your outstanding platau. I wish you well in all you do.

  8. Cameron, I am soooooooooo very proud of you. Always keep your focus on the prize. Best of luck in college. While in college, no matter what you see going on around you, never forget WHO YOU are and that you have an entire community of people praying, supporting, watching and waiting to see the countless blessings that are bound to come your way!

  9. Cameron, I am sooooooooo very proud of you! Always remember to keep your eyes on THE PRIZE. Best of luck in college! While in college, no matter what you see going on around you NEVER forget WHO YOU ARE and that you have an entire community of people praying, supporting, watching and waiting to see the countless blessings that are bound to come your way.

  10. Cameron, I am sooooooo very proud of you! Always remember to keep your eyes on the PRIZE. While in college, NEVER forget WHO YOU ARE, and that you have an entire community of people who are praying, supporting, watching and waiting to see the countless blessings that are bound to come your way. Best of luck in college!

  11. Congrats to Mr. Clarke.

    But the implication of this article is that the other 359 kids with perfect scores are not black.

    Being one of those who scored 800 on the math before the tests were dumbed down and assuming that 5% of the kids who take these tests are black, and that blacks are just as intelligent as everyone else, the probability that there would be only one black among the 360 is about one in a half billion. So not very likely. When contradictions exist, examine your premises.

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