Five St. Mary’s School students’ have bragging rights this year. Their academic success has qualified them for the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP). The students are Christian Guirgis, Damien Martin, Olivia Voll, Jonah Draves, and Nico Rodriguez. They have been invited to join the program based on their high standardized test scores. Students at St. Mary’s school qualify for the 7th Grade Talent Search by scoring above a 95% in one or more ELA or Math subtests on the ITBS test taken in sixth grade. “We are very proud of our students and their teachers,” said Sandra Basinger, principal of the school. “Our teachers are dedicated to our students and always looking for ways to encourage them to do their best. We couldn’t be happier for them and will continue to support them so they can achieve their full potential.” Five out of 19 seventh-graders at St. Mary’s made the Duke list – a little more than 25 percent of the class. Duke Tip is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving academically talented youth. It offers a variety of programs and opportunities for identified students. The 7th Grade Talent Search, which focuses on the identification, recognition, and support of high-ability students, offers qualifying seventh grade students the opportunity to take college entrance exams alongside high school students. Many 7th Grade Talent Search participants go on to earn exceptionally high scores and are recognized for their advanced intellect. Two years ago St. Mary’s alumna Ashley Carter, now a high school student, was recognized in a statewide ceremony for posting one of the highest test scores on the ACT among her peers in Florida. As a global leader in gifted education, Duke TIP works with students, families, and educators to identify, recognize, challenge, engage, and support gifted youth in reaching their highest potential. More than 2.8 million students have benefited from TIP programs and resources since 1980. Duke TIP is committed to providing services and programs beyond what is offered in the classroom to meet the individual needs of gifted children. For example, qualifying students may have the opportunity to spend three weeks during the summer taking specially tailored classes for them at the Duke campus. There are also on-line classes available to them that go beyond the traditional courses offered at most comprehensive high schools.
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