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Key West grad gets perfect scores on standardized tests

Henry Kokenzie, 18, in his Key West home where his grandmother prominently displays in the living room his high school diploma and class photos.
Henry Kokenzie, 18, in his Key West home where his grandmother prominently displays in the living room his high school diploma and class photos. gfilosa@keynoter.com

For Henry Kokenzie, a newly minted Key West High School graduate, academic success is nothing new.

He’s been bringing home straight As since he started going to school.

But now Kokenzie, 18, who will attend the University of Florida this fall, has joined a select number of high school students who can say they made perfect scores on portions of nation’s standardized tests.

Kokenzie didn’t just get a perfect score on the reading portion of the SAT — an 800 — he also did the same on the ACT reading section, scoring a 36.

“I didn’t really study that much for it,” Kokenzie said this week, days after graduation and an announcment by Principal Amber Bosco that included his perfect reading scores among the highlights of the class of 2016. “I just read a lot as a child.”

He can’t remember his exact math scores on the SAT and ACT, but thinks it was around 700 and 30 respectively. After learning of the perfect scores last year, he told his close pals and word got out around campus as teachers began congratulating him.

“I didn’t really brag about it too much,” said Kokenzie, who graduated with a 4.3 GPA.

Kokenzie plans to study English literature and is thinking about law school, with a speciality in music law. His favorite books of the moment include “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli and “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.

A sixth-generation Key Wester, where locals are known as Conchs, Kokenzie grew up in his grandparents home after his mother died when he was barely two. His father works for the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s Office and his stepmom is a chiropractor.

During a recent interview in his living room, where Kokenzie’s diploma and framed class portraits fill the mantle, his grandmother dropped in to dote.

Kokenzie, who divides his free time between lifting weights at the gym, reading and hanging with friends, addresses a visitor as ma’am and adds it to every answer.

“How many kids do that? He says thank you after meals.” Jean Herman says of her grandson, who begins to look as though he’d like to disappear. “You have no idea. This is my heart, my soul right here.”

Asked what advice he would give to high school students, Kokenzie doesn’t hesitate to share his experience. “Don’t procrastinate,” he said, adding that he is a procrastinator at times. “Study if you need to and definitely read outside on your free time.”

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen on Twitter

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