Saturday, June 23, 2012

NZ Gifted Blog Tour: What Angie Taught Me

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Angie loves words.   
Always has; always will. 

The works of C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Bradbury and L’Engle enchanted her in grade school.   For birthday gifts, she and her older sister exchanged volumes of poetry and Shakespeare’s plays.  By the time she was 10, there was little that could be differentiated for her in a regular reading class.  And when asked what she’d like to do instead, her immediate response was, “Learn Latin.” 

Those younger than 30 will find this hard to believe, but it wasn’t so long ago that there were no online classes!  And classical languages aren’t typically offered in small town Wisconsin.  Fortunately, we found a Latin correspondence course through Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development.  But after hungrily devouring the four-term program in record time, Angie wanted more.  She wanted and needed to commune with someone who shared her passion.  Finding a mentor seemed impossible and I would have given up but for her persistence. 

The answer came from a surprising source.  A small Catholic convent outside of town was home to several elderly nuns. And as luck would have it, one was a Latin scholar. 

So twice a week this little girl knocked on the convent door.  Then she and Sister Mary Agnes (75 years her senior), bent their heads close together to joyfully read and discuss Tacitus and Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder and both of the Senecas, too.

I’m reminded again of the Maureen Neihart quote I posted last February:
"The single most powerful predictor of positive outcomes for 
vulnerable children is a relationship with a caring adult."

Happy New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week!


1 comment:

  1. A wonderful story! Reminds me of a mentor programme for my gifted Ur 7/8students that I set up years ago. One of my boys was passionate about greek and norse myths and wrote amazing odes and ballads. We scratched our heads until someone found a retired classics teacher - both of them were in heaven!