Students show off their smarts

Published 11:10 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the past, I have shared how inadequate I feel when I meet teenagers who are smarter than me, but lately I’m learning that I’m just going to have to get used to it with the students I meet through my job.

This week, King’s Fork High School featured four brilliant seniors who are part of the school’s International Baccalaureate program in its Viva Voce program.

The students showed PowerPoint presentations covering math, history, psychology and religion and reflecting the content of their extended essays.

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The essays are required in order to receive an IB diploma, and these students definitely earned their IB status with their work.

First, not even mentioning the content of their presentations, the students knew how to do amazing things in their PowerPoint presentations, demonstrating how seriously they took their assignment and how professionally they already carry themselves.

But there was more to these projects than excellent designs.

The content the students covered in their essays was college-level, and through their presentations, it was obvious the students had invested a massive amount of work and research into their essays.

One student presented his essay on the probability of getting a royal flush in a game of Texas Hold’Em.

I’m not a math person, which made it even more amazing to hear the work he completed to reach his conclusion.

One of his PowerPoint slides showed the 21 formulas he had developed to find the chances, and when it popped up on the projection screen, the audience, which was made up of IB students in lower grades, parents, along with faculty members and a panel of assessors, gasped.

I think the student sitting behind me put the mood perfectly: “How, how, how, how?”

It was amazing to see a senior in high school who was so comfortable with math, instead of being scared of it or bored with it.

It also was an interesting way to show that math isn’t just for nerds who locked themselves away in a room with computers. Here he was, using it in something tons of people enjoy — poker.

While Viva Voce was designed to showcase the extended essays, the event also served as a way to display the intelligence and talents of these students.

It was also a great chance for them to practice public speaking.

At the program, it was evident not only are the students extremely smart, but also they have no trouble putting their ideas into words and presenting them to both their peers and critics.

Clearly, these students aren’t just smart — they are well-prepared and college-ready, and I can imagine all of them will do great things once they start their careers.