Western Kentucky University

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More Than 400 Seventh-Graders Recognized in Duke TIP Ceremony

More Than 400 Seventh-Graders Recognized in Duke TIP Ceremony

The group of about 400 students that congregated at Western Kentucky University May 25, 2012, had three things in common: their college-ready ACT or SAT scores; their seventh-grade standing in school; and the incredible potential that combination creates.

The accomplished middle schoolers visited WKU to attend the Kentucky Recognition Ceremony for the Duke Talent Identification Program hosted by The Center for Gifted Studies in E. A. Diddle Arena. The event honored students for scoring at or above the average for college-bound seniors on one or more sections of the ACT or SAT this year.

In Kentucky, 2,909 seventh graders — who initially scored in the 95th percentile on a grade-level achievement test — took the above-level assessments. More than 1,400 then qualified to be honored at the Kentucky Recognition Ceremony. Additionally, 152 were invited to the Grand Recognition Ceremony on Duke University’s campus, celebrating those who earned scores equal to or better than 90 percent of college-bound seniors on the ACT or SAT.

Nationally, more than 77,000 seventh graders tested, and 25,328 were invited to attend a state recognition event.

Dr. Julia Roberts, executive director of The Center for Gifted Studies, noted that the ceremonies provide inspiration and encouragement for gifted young students, who need the help of educators and decision makers to continue on their current trajectories.

“Duke TIP recognizes the exceptional academic performance of seventh graders,” she said. “This day is a wonderful celebration of high potential that must be followed up with appropriately challenging learning opportunities to develop that potential to the fullest.”

Potential was “the key word of the day,” Kentucky Rep. Carl Rollins (D-Woodford County), chair of the House Education Committee, noted in his remarks to students. He and Kentucky Department of Education Consultant for Gifted and Talented Education Kathie Anderson congratulated students on their achievements thus far but urged them to continuing setting high goals.

“I want you to understand this is the beginning,” Rollins said.

 WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell, who provided the keynote address for the ceremony, noted that the entire Commonwealth is counting on these bright seventh graders to lead the state into an intellectually and economically prosperous future. The Center for Gifted Studies, Western Kentucky University’s Honors College, and the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics — which Newsweek recently named the nation’s top high school — are excited and ready to assist the seventh graders along the way, he said.

“Shoot for big dreams,” Ransdell said. “Be bold. Be aggressive. Reach for your dreams, and know that there are things we can do in Kentucky to help you achieve those dreams.”

The students rounded out the day taking a closer look at those ambitions by touring WKU’s campus and the Gatton Academy, as well as attending a reception sponsored by the Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust, Kentucky’s 529 college savings plan.

Ransdell said he hoped the experience invigorated students as they soon set their sights on high school, then college.

“You’ve already begun to set yourself apart from other students in your area school, and don’t let that be something that ever causes you to be shy or timid or anything other than completely confident in your abilities,” he said. “You are beginning to rise.”

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 Last Modified 7/23/13