Post scored a composite 25 when he first took the ACT as a seventh grade Gifted student at Signal Mountain Middle/High School. His score in science then was high enough to earn him recognition in Duke University’s Talent Identification Program.
In 10th grade, Post achieved a composite score of 34, with his highest scores in reading and English, which he thought misrepresented him. “I’ve always been a math and science type of person,” Post said.
So, when preparing to take the ACT again this past September, Post focused more on math because he wanted to score really well in that section to be competitive when applying to colleges for an engineering degree. He also studied reading a lot because he said, “I’ve never been really comfortable with it and didn’t want it to lower my grade.”
Post, who also is a National Merit Semi-Finalist, found online practice tests to be really helpful when studying for academic tests. He mainly practiced through Kahn Academy, which many math teachers use for homework assignments at all grade levels.
“Different people learn differently,” he said, so find what works best for you.
One tip he offered so others don’t get discouraged is rather than jumping right into timed practice tests, “Take one practice test, go through it completely and don’t time yourself. Go slow and make sure you understand the material well and know what you did wrong.”
“Be sure you understand how they’re asking the questions and the tricks they throw at you,” Post advised. “Then, once you’re comfortable with it, start adding the time pressure.”
The future engineer narrowed all that down to “quality over quantity.”
Post credits two SMMHS teachers for the greatest help preparing him for the ACT. He said math teacher Kathy McCormack made ACT practice a priority in her class. “She’s just a really great teacher,” he added, “and she makes math fun.”
McCormack said Post has “an excellent math mind and seeks to connect math to physics and business. He is a student who thinks outside the box. When Chase raises his hand, he often asks questions that challenge me to make more connections.”
English teacher Amanda Pettit-Shaheen was a huge help teaching basic mechanics and writing intricacies during AP Literature. He mentioned that writing essays and learning how to use semi colons to combine complex sentences was especially helpful.
“She really nailed down those basic mechanics,” he said, “and taught us how to read critically and how to write effectively.”
Pettit-Shaheen called Post “an amazing student.”
“Chase is thoughtful, inquisitive, and motivated, and he has a true desire to learn new things,” she said. “I look forward to seeing what great things he will accomplish in his future.”
Two extracurricular activities of which Post is proud are involvement in the school’s swimming and Leo clubs.
He started swimming at age 6 and has spent 10 years swimming competitively with the Signal Mountain Green Giants, Baylor Swim Club and Signal Mountain Swim and Dive Club.
After starting his freshman year of high school at the Baylor School because of its swimming program, Post transferred back to SMMHS.
Post says swimming requires a lot of focus because it’s not a sport that involves a lot of talking with others but instead mainly staring down at the bottom of a pool.
“It taught me how to focus and work really hard, even when you’re not really talented at something,” he said.
That paid off when Post qualified for Junior Nationals and made finals at State in the 100-yard breaststroke earlier in the year. He now serves as team captain of the Signal Mountain Swim Club and has received several awards relating to swimming talent, team spirit, and leadership.
In the Leo Club, Post is best known for leading the recycling program at home football games and organizing blood drives.
Post also helped program an Augmented Reality Sandbox for Nolan Elementary during fall break in 2019, continues to tutor other students in math, helped organize a talent show to raise money for the Mountain Education Foundation, he also has participated in the YMCA Youth in Government program, where he served as the white senate chief clerk and ran for governor back in the spring. He was also involved in TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science), Academic Quiz Bowl, the National Honor Society and Beta Club.
Chase has two siblings. James attends UTC, and his sister, Hailey, is a junior at SMMHS. They are the children of Larry and Kathy Post, who are proud of their middle child’s recent achievement.
“It’s exciting to have all his hard work pay off,” mom said, “and especially to have it honored.”
SMMHS Principal Shane Harwood agreed. “Chase’s hard work and dedication have been instrumental in his recent ACT accomplishment and being recognized as a National Merit Semi-Finalist,” he said. “Chase serves as an example for other students in regards to academics, service, and character, and we are excited to see what his future holds!”
Post has explored several areas of interest in his quest for leadership skills to supplement studies in engineering.
Although he isn’t sure yet what specific area he plans to study, the top two contenders are electrical or industrial engineering.
Considering himself a natural leader, Post said he doesn’t want to just study design basics but wants to continue learning skills that he could apply to managing a factory or project team one day.
When interviewed after announcement as a National Merit Semifinalist, Post said, “I think the most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to make mistakes.
“When we make mistakes, we learn valuable lessons that may otherwise go unlearned,” he noted. “All you can do, no matter what happens, is keep working hard, pursue what makes you happy, and give to others whenever you can.”
by Melissa Barrett