In the 34 years that the Governor's Cup academic competition has been held, there have been impressive scores, but maybe none as impressive as Frankfort native and Lexington Catholic junior Luke Crocker.
Luke, who lives in Frankfort and attended Good Shepherd Catholic School in Frankfort from preschool through eighth grade, scored 48 out of 50 points on the Social Studies written assessment portion of this year's regional competition, a new state record. He bested his closest opponent's score by 5 points.
“I guess you could say that history is my favorite subject,” Luke said.
He has participated in the Governor's Cup every year since fourth grade, and has made district and regional finals multiple times, along with trips to the state level competition. He credits Mark Myers, his social studies teacher at Good Shepherd, for instilling his interest in the subject from an early age.
“He made us excited about history, and about learning,” added Luke, who said the Enlightenment is his favorite era in history to study.
The Governor's Cup isn't your average academic contest. There are five separate written assessment portions (along with Social Studies, students compete in Mathematics, Science, Language Arts and Arts/Humanities; Luke has competed in several subjects over his time in the competition), an on-demand Composition portion, Quick Recall and Future Problem Solving. The latter encourages students to think creatively to develop solutions to real-world problems in a timed trial.
“We had a much smaller team this year,” he continued. “We had six students competing at the varsity level, when last year there were eight or nine. So everyone had to really step up this year to advance.”
And step up, they did. The team finished fourth out of 19 teams.
Luke, the son of Boyce Andrew and Deborah Crocker, is due to compete in the State Governor's Cup competition, set to take place March 14-16 in Louisville.
Luke is no stranger to academic competitions. In 2017, as an eighth grader at Good Shepherd, Luke placed fifth in Kentucky at a statewide geography bee organized by National Geographic and held at Western Kentucky University.
After this month's Governor's Cup he'll continue to focus on completing his junior year and making plans for college.
Any frontrunners so far?
“Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, the University of Evansville, and Earlham College in Indiana ... those are my top three right now,” Luke said. “But I still have a couple of campus visits left to do.”