Liam Coughlin, a Br. Rice High School AP/honors student and 2015 graduate from St. Michael Elementary School, in Orland Park, earned a perfect score of 36 on his ACT college admissions test, a feat achieved by less than 1 in 1,000 students taking the exam nationwide.
Coughlin described how his morning went on Nov. 14, the day when the test scores were posted.
“At first, I was in a state of disbelief. I actually thought I was looking at the wrong account when I logged in to see my score,” Coughlin said. “Then I told my parents. They were ecstatic. They were really excited.”
Coughlin took a philosophical perspective about the test.
“You have to remember that sometimes this is the luck of how you’re feeling one day,” Coughlin said. “And you have to remember that everyone is at different levels. Everyone goes at their own pace. You shouldn’t think that you are better than someone because this one test tells you that you have a higher score than someone else.”
Coughlin offered fellow juniors some advice on the ACT.
“Make sure you’re not trying to read for complete comprehension in the reading section … try to skim it. With the science portion, don’t get freaked out if it seems like Greek. You can get a lot of the answers from the graphs or from your own knowledge of science.”
An engineering enthusiast, Coughlin has been fostering his love of the subject as a three-year member of the award-winning Br. Rice Robotics Club, which has earned recognition as one of the top high school programs in the world, placing first in its region two years in a row and 14th among 250 teams from 17 countries.
In the summers, Coughlin volunteers his time at Edmund Rice Camp, a free, one-week camp of artistic, athletic, recreational and spiritual activities held at Br. Rice High School for area youngsters who could not otherwise afford to attend summer camp. Coughlin also participates with the Scholastic Bowl team and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Dr. Kevin Burns, president of Br. Rice High School, praised Coughlin.
“We are all certainly proud of Liam’s accomplishment,” Burns said. “We’re even prouder of the young man he’s become.”
Jim Antos, Br. Rice principal, shared that admiration.
“Liam’s academic work and his work ethic as a Br. Rice student has always been stellar and reflects what he, his parents and family members have always supported,” Antos said. “Liam is a top-shelf young man, and we’re so proud in calling him a true man of Edmund Rice in all that he does.”
Br. Patrick Hayes, chairman of the science department, agreed.
“Liam is a well-rounded student who challenges himself and other students around him to excel. He brings class to life with his good humor and unique way of seeing the world in science and engineering.”
Editor’s note: Marc Ridgell, Class of 2019, contributed to this article.