Spain Park junior scores perfect 36 on ACT

When Spain Park High School junior Connor Cocke took the ACT college entrance exam for the fourth time, he felt pretty good about it.

However, even Cocke had no idea of what he was about to accomplish: a perfect composite score of 36.

“I think (a perfect score) was the goal, but I don’t know that that was really realistic,” he said.

Apparently it was, as Cocke found out a few weeks ago.

He said he considered his three previous tries — which resulted in scores of 24, 30 and 34 — as practice for this final try.

Cocke, who has a grade point average of 4.19, said he can now settle down and start really looking at colleges. He’s already visited Auburn, Vanderbilt and Texas Tech, among others. He said he’d likely stay in the Southeast for college.

“Right now, we’re just looking around. I’m not really sure what I want,” he said. “I’m not really a cold-weather person.”

His mother, Marquita Cocke, said she and husband Brad were proud of Connor’s achievements.

“We were so excited and very proud of him for his accomplishments,” she said. “He does take (Advanced Placement) classes and works really hard as well, so we were just very proud of him.”

Marquita Cocke said she was giving her son the responsibility to make his college choice on his own.

“We’re just going to let him visit different colleges in the area and let him make that decision,” she said. “My husband and I are Auburn graduates, so it’s really hard not to push him towards Auburn. But it’s his college and his decision.”

Hoover City Schools spokesperson Jason Gaston said Cocke is the first Spain Park student to make a 36 on the ACT.

According to the ACT Web site, out of 1.5 million 2009 graduates who took the ACT, only 638 earned a composite score of 36.