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La Grange teen earns perfect ACT score

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By Danna Zabrovsky

An Oldham County High School student must have eaten his Wheaties the morning of the American College Testing exam.
Cory Smith, son of Tommy and Angela Smith of La Grange, earned a perfect score on the ACT, which has not been accomplished at his school in at least eight years, his guidance counselor said.
Smith, a junior at OCHS, learned of his accomplishment just before spring break.
His perfect score of 36 is averaged across the four areas of the test: reading, English, science and math.
It was Smith’s third time taking the test.
The 17-year-old said he didn’t study for the ACT because his coursework at school serves as preparation.
“A lot of my classes don’t just teach facts, but they teach a certain way of thinking through things,” he said. “Like, with math, the right way to set up an equation or to separate variables, for example.”
OCHS guidance counselor Kim Fitzgerald said Smith also scored a 236 out of 240 on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, or PSAT,  which tests English, reading and math.
“He just gives me goosebumps,” Fitzgerald said. “We are all so proud of Cory.”
Smith is enrolled in six advanced placement courses, and is studying for three additional AP tests, microeconomics, macroeconomics and comparative government, on his own time.
He is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Academic Team, and participated in the Kentucky United Nations Assembly and Kentucky Youth Assembly. He is also a member of Young Republicans.
“Although Young Democrats has kind of fallen apart, I was in that when it was around,” Smith added. “It’s important to me to see both sides.”
Though Smith is proud of his ACT score, he may have to take the test again.
He hasn’t taken the ACT writing component, which is required by Ivy League schools, he said. 
Tommy Smith said his son has always had an outstanding academic record because he has always wanted to learn.
“It is a life-long love of academics. He has enjoyed it from day one,” Tommy said.
His son has achieved academic success largely on his own.
“We just put the tools there for him,” Tommy said.
“The one thing we have taught is that anything you want in life, you work hard and you will achieve it. He’s followed through with it.”
Tommy said Cory has expressed an interest in becoming a physicist, but that his plans could change in his final year of high school.
Cory used to be interested in a career in politics, his father said, but has become more interested in science.
“I don’t know that he’s set in exactly what he wants to do because as things catch his interest, he dives right in,” Tommy said.
Cory hopes to attend a “math- and science-heavy university.”
Fitzgerald confirmed Smith has his sights set on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for the moment.

E-mail us about this story at: danna@oldhamera.com.