Potter College News
Gatton Academy student named ACTR Russian Scholar Laureate
- WKU News
- Tuesday, April 5th, 2022
This story was originally published by WKU News on April 4, 2022.
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science student Hayden Flickinger (’22, Marshall County HS) was recently recognized as a 2021 American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) Russian Scholar Laureate. She is a member of a select group of 38 Russian language students nominated by teachers and principals across the United States as the most outstanding Russian Language student in their classes.
Flickinger began her Russian language studies through The Gatton Academy’s STEM+ Critical Languages Program. Critical languages are those recognized by the U.S. Department of State as being of vital importance for national economic and security interests. STEM + students supplement their Gatton Academy STEM curriculum with one progressively more-rigorous language course each semester. They complete the two-year Gatton Academy program with at least four semesters of collegiate-level critical language study, as well as required monthly STEM + Talks to enhance their learning. These seminars bring language learners together to learn about topics such as scholarships, travel opportunities, and cultural activities.
Flickinger states, “I love learning Russian because it is challenging but also really rewarding. Studying it all four semesters at Gatton has been a great addition to the STEM curriculum. I have learned something new that I would not have been able to otherwise. Learning Russian has been the best part of my Gatton experience, and I'm excited to be able to use it in the future.”
Her nominating teacher, Ekaterina Myakshina, Russian instructor for the WKU Modern Languages Department, says, “I could choose only one student, which made this a very difficult decision because I believe every student in my class is worthy of this award. However, I was surprised and impressed when 16-year-old Hayden found material about the Naryshkin Baroque architectural style of 17th century in Russia and made a very interesting presentation. Believe me, it is rare if Russians even know about this style.”
In addition to Flickinger’s recognition, Gatton Academy students were recognized for their writing in Russian through the 40th National Russian Essay Contest (NREC). This ACTR program allows students to showcase their writing skills in the Russian language. Gatton Academy students Nathan Turlington (’22, Central Hardin HS) and Madison (Brooke) Haden (’22, North Oldham HS) received gold medals; Thomas Kolb (’22, Atherton HS) received a silver medal; Hayden Flickinger (’22, Marshall County HS) and Barrett Gibbs (’22, Corbin HS) received bronze medals; and Brendan White (’23, Central Hardin HS) received an honorable mention.
About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential two-year program for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Gatton Academy has been named to Jay Mathews’ list of top-performing schools with elite students for eleven consecutive appearances and received the National Consortium for Secondary STEM School’s Innovation Partnership Award.