Program rewards smart students

Published 9:11 pm Saturday, July 30, 2011

So often, in so many places across America, the best and brightest students are allowed to go through their educational careers without being challenged.

Their needs often are overlooked because school divisions are too busy teaching to the test, disciplining miscreants and moving standards to the lowest common denominator.

But students who excel should not be punished because of their ne’er-do-well peers. School divisions, third-party programs and, most importantly, families should provide as much opportunity as possible for the best students to become even better.

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That’s why recent news out of Hillpoint Elementary School is so important.

Five students from the school will have the opportunity for a life-changing experience next month when they visit the National Young Scholars Program.

Jordan Cary, Peyton Storms, Zoie Wise, Danielle Boyd and Sharonda Artis all get to attend the leadership camp. Most of them were nominated by teacher Erdie Hutchings, while Jordan was invited back after attending last year.

The program is for students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and leadership capabilities. The children have the chance to choose from among a variety of programs, including crime scene investigation, architecture and engineering or medicine.

Unsurprisingly, all of the topics fit under the broader umbrella of science, technology, engineering and math, which many modern educators are encouraging young people to study.

There’s also a leadership element in all of the different programs, underscoring the fact that leadership skills are just as important as book learning.

Our kudos go to the students who have excelled in elementary school, the teacher who cared enough to nominate them and the parents who cared enough to send them to this program. We’re sure that Jordan, Peyton, Zoie, Danielle and Sharonda will return to Suffolk more enriched than when they left.