What is the following in red saying?
He began ticking off honours in all of his classes, and became one of the prodigies of the College of the City of New York.
Does this just mean "he got the highest marks" in all the classes?
I believe it means that he "checked off" (American usage) obtaining honors as though it were a list of things to do.
Take out trash
In his case
Honors in English
Honors in History
Honors in Math
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.