If beauty is in the eye of the beholder as the old saying goes, then Riverwood International Charter School senior Hanna McDaniel has a unique view on what “beauty” is to her. It has helped propel her to academic superiority on the ACT standardized test.

The 17-year-old Sandy Springs resident, daughter of Dionne Avila and the late Michael McDaniel, said she finds beauty “in seeing my math work done on a page in my notebook.”

Having attended Riverwood since her freshman year, McDaniel has applied to seven colleges and has already been accepted to Texas A&M and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She made a perfect score of 36 when she took the test in June after making a 34 when she took it initially the preceding February.

As such, according to Google, only 0.195% of students nationwide who have taken the ACT this year achieved a perfect score. McDaniel credits her father, who died in August, with always challenging her to do her best in school.

“He taught me that no one could go wrong in wanting to learn,” she said. “ My dad taught me to always seek to learn, because the ability to learn not only makes one a better student but a better person overall.”

McDaniel has a 99.26 grade-point average based on a 100-point scale. She said her favorite subject in school is math and has always done well in it.

“But the important thing is that math still represents a challenge for me and I always enjoy challenges,” she said.

According to her math teacher, Rod Schopke, McDaniel has always been a brilliant student and asks very thoughtful, meaningful questions.

“Hanna shies away from being praised and would rather spend time in helping her peers rather than lifting herself up,” he said. “However, even more than her brilliant mind, I like her natural caring attitude toward others.”

Although she expects to be hearing back soon from other colleges to which she has applied, including Georgia Tech and the University of Miami, McDaniel said her intention is to major in meteorology as well as math.

Her school-related extracurricular activities include being a member of Riverwood’s National Honor Society and Beta Club as well as being an officer in the school’s Future Business Leaders of America organization.

McDaniel’s caring attitude toward classmates does not end there. She also finds time to help tutor English to foreign-born children who have moved to Atlanta.


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