With a perfect ACT score, Landon Sykora could have selected any university. He has chosen to attend the University of South Alabama.
Only two students in Alabama, out of more than 50,000 test-takers, have made a perfect score on the ACT this year. Sykora is the only one who has decided to stay in-state for college. He is part of an elite nationwide group of 200 perfect scores out of 1.3 million tests.
Sykora and his family attended a “signing ceremony” to celebrate his full scholarship to USA at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 19, in the President’s boardroom.
USA President Gordon Moulton presented Sykora with $42,250 in scholarships, including money for a laptop computer and books.
His parents, Glenn and Tampa Sykora, and his grandmother, Elizabeth Sykora, attended the signing ceremony. Daphne High School Principal Don Blanchard and guidance counselor Karen Bishop were also in attendance. Daphne High School English teacher Andre LaPalme encouraged Sykora to re-take the test after Sykora had scored a 34 on a previous attempt.
Moulton said that Sykora’s choice of USA was a validation of the school’s programs.
“It’s a compliment to the University when you successfully recruit a student of this caliber,” he said. “It speaks well to the quality of our programs and the people he’s met here. We want to make sure the citizens of Alabama know what kind of education they can get at home here at South Alabama.”
Sykora said that the more he learned about USA, the better he liked it. “I was gradually exposed to everything the University of South Alabama has to offer. Since I intend to go into medicine, being accepted to the College of Medicine’s Early Acceptance Program was important. I was also accepted to the Honors Program, which functions like its own small unit within USA, a group of advanced students who help one another. The research opportunity that I will have this summer and into the school year was a major factor.
“And, most importantly, the campus felt right. It definitely felt better than any of the others I visited. Everybody was incredibly nice, and had only good to say about the school.”
His mother, Tampa, said, “We just can’t thank USA enough. We are very grateful. We’re hoping that he rises to the occasion and gives back to the University and the community, and we think he will.”
The Daphne High School graduate has maintained a 4.0 grade point average, played percussion instruments in the band and is an accomplished pianist.
Before he’s taken one college course, Sykora has already reserved a spot in the USA College of Medicine through the Early Acceptance Program. It allows qualified high school graduates conditional acceptance to the College of Medicine, contingent on required grades and test scores.
He will begin taking classes at USA this summer and also start a research project with a USA medical doctor.
“We are very comfortable, very happy with the decision,” Tampa Sykora said.
While a perfect ACT score is rare, Sykora isn’t the first USA student with this accomplishment. He joins Sonia Savani, who scored a perfect score on the standardized test in 2005. Savani, a senior in biomedical sciences major, is also planning on attending USA’s College of Medicine.