Adam's Story

Includes Young Scholars program, taking SAT in sixth grade and the THINK Summer Institute.












The biggest challenge in parenting an academically gifted kid is the overwhelming skepticism you face. Teachers tell you he “isn’t that gifted”. Gifted and talented administrators say his IQ test scores are “flawed” or from the “wrong test”. A pull-out program that lasts 45 minutes per day is supposed to “meet his needs”. When you transfer schools, the principal patiently tells you that “School xyz is much more challenging”, and he can’t possibly advance a grade.

At home you watch your animated second grader memorize the periodic table of elements and write 10-page stories. He zips through “Jump Start 5th Grade” in a month. School makes him miserable, with the exception of the rare teacher who gives him something challenging to do, not just more work. He takes the SAT in sixth grade, scoring higher than all but the brightest high school juniors. You wonder how to challenge him. You worry about him fitting in with his age peers. Enter the Davidson Young Scholars.

In 2006, at the age of 14, our son, Adam, spent three weeks at the University of Nevada, Reno with the Davidson’s THINK Summer Institute program. It was a summer that changed his life. THINK is a program that allows precocious young teens the opportunity to study college-level courses during a three-week, accelerated term. Adam took two college-level courses, calculus and philosophy. He worked like a dog, particularly at calculus, and received his first ever “B” in a class. He was prouder of that “B” than any A+ he ever received. Also, Adam met a bunch of other academically talented teens that embraced his quick humor, shared his love of learning, and accepted him as a peer. That acceptance gave him the confidence to fully engage his peers and build a much richer social life at home. The following summer, Adam returned to THINK. He aced college Latin and physics, enjoyed his new friends even more, and met his first girl friend.

Adam graduated from high school this spring. He will be attending Dartmouth College this fall with the goal of becoming a physician. We are so proud of his achievements: two-time captain of his varsity football team, all-conference football player, perfect 4.0 grade point average, perfect 1600 on his SAT’s, all-state thespian, all-state chamber choir member and first chair trumpet player. We are proud of the fine young man he has become. Despite his prodigious gifts, Adam is funny, humble, hard-working, and generous. Most of all, Adam is happy. We are very grateful to the Davidson’s Young Scholar program, particularly THINK, which gave him the challenge and confidence he needed during a critical time in his development.


Contributed by: Educator on 10/4/2013
I am heartened to learn of your son's development and achievements. Thank you for your inspiring story about Adam, who will undoubtedly (not hopefully) accomplish much with his gifts!

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