Monday, June 4, 2012

More than a Test Score

Sorry for my absence!  I've spent the last month organizing a celebration honoring some of Wisconsin's brightest middle school students.  These amazing kids participated in Northwestern University's Midwest Academic Talent Search, taking the EXPLORE, ACT and SAT exams intended for students 4-6 years older than they are.  Believe it or not, these youngsters in grades 4-8 scored quite a bit higher than the average high school seniors. (For those of you who know the tests, some earned as high as 33 on the ACT and 1530 on the SAT.)

For our theme "More than a Test Score" I created a slideshow of photos the kids submitted showing them doing all the things they love.  Truly amazing.  I plan to post it on the WATG website.  Some of the parents asked me to post my welcoming comments as well, so here they are!

Welcome!  We’re here today to recognize you for accepting the challenge of attempting an out-of-level achievement test intended for students 4-6 years older than you are.  Not only did you accept that challenge, but you did well on the exams.  Really, really well!

However, we’re here today to celebrate more than your high test scores.  As we saw on the slideshow, you are wonderfully interesting people who also happen to have great intellectual and academic gifts.  You’re artists and dancers and musicians and athletes and actors. You work, you play, you volunteer.  You’re special in many, many ways.  AND you are KIDS – typical, busy kids who sometimes feel like Caleigh did (in her caption) “I’d rather be sleeping!”  So today we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate the “whole” of you . . . your brilliant minds, your compassionate hearts and your active lives.  Congratulations to each of you. 

Dr. Maureen Neihart once wrote: “The single most powerful predictor of positive outcomes for vulnerable children is a relationship with a caring adult.”  Parents, your presence here today is a sign of your ongoing love and concern for your children’s welfare and happiness.  Students, will you join me in thanking your parents for being here and for always being there?

And I’d also like to thank you students.  Thank you for being you - wonderfully bright, caring, funny kids.  Thank you for your courage, for pursuing challenges and taking educational risks.  Thank you for your diligence, for working hard and valuing quality work. Thank you for your humility, for understanding that while you are definitely better at some things than your peers, you’re never better than others.  And thank you for taking charge of your own education and for allowing us, your parents and teachers, to help you create your own personal path to graduation and beyond.  Remember as you pursue your many passions - take time to enjoy the journey.

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