Spencer Kuan Co, now a sophomore at Homer High School, is one of only a couple hundred people worldwide to receive not just a score of 5 on the AP Computer Science exam, but also received every point possible on the test, putting him in the top .29% of people who took the test!
A long time KPBSD student, Spencer attended Fireweed Academy, and Homer Middle School. He is definitely on track to graduate from Homer High School with the Class of 2024.
What sparked an interest in [computer] science?
I’ve been interested in mathematics and engineering for a large portion of my life. I used to tinker a considerable amount with small motors and wires, and try to create little cars and machines. To me, creating something that can move or do something of its own volition is instantly rewarding. Computer science, and coding specifically, seemed like a natural extension of that. I became especially engrossed in coding after taking the programming courses on Khan Academy a few years ago. Once the pandemic hit, I found I had a large amount of time to myself, and I decided to use some of that time to further my programming abilities.
It’s really rewarding to know that the time and commitment I put into studying computer science was recognized in some regard. Still, my perfect score was in a way simply a matter of chance. I’m sure that other students could have achieved the same, but had only missed a few questions.
I would like to thank Mr. Spurkland, who was my Computer Science teacher at the time, for a large part of this honor. I went into his class with prior knowledge that covered many of the actual computing topics that were taught in the class. He understood this, and challenged me to go beyond the assignments, which forced me to continue to grow and develop. I could have left a similar class with little more than I knew beforehand, but instead the class served as a great opportunity to learn many new things.
Play and fun
I am an avid programmer. 3D graphics are particularly satisfying to research and create, and I enjoy making interesting programs that expand my understanding of mathematics. Aside from that, when I’m not doing schoolwork, I like to read, play with my dog, and of course hang out with friends. Additionally, I debate on the school’s Drama, Debate, and Forensics (DDF) team, which takes up a fair portion of time. I hope to be able to get out and do some skiing this winter. My favorite book is The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, which is a really thought-provoking science fiction novel, and the first of a wonderful trilogy.
My advice to others is to simply stick with and study the topics that really interest them, because it often pays off in the end.