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Friday, 26 June 2015 11:49

Local Middle School Student Honored Among Brightest in World

By | Education

Saskia Kamerling’s Test Scores Place Her in Top 30% of 33,000 Youth Across Globe

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saskia Kamerling, a high-achieving student from Saratoga Springs, was honored as one of the brightest young students in the world at a regional awards ceremony this spring for academically advanced children sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY).

Kamerling is a student at Maple Avenue Middle School, heading into seventh grade in the fall. She was among more than 8,470 CTY Talent Search honorees recognized in the 41 CTY Award Ceremonies across the U.S. and in China and Hong Kong, selected through testing from more than 33,000 students from 60-plus countries who participated in the search over the last year. She was the only student in Saratoga County to receive this international recognition for academic performance and potential. 

The CTY Talent Search asks teachers, guidance counselors and parents to nominate second through eighth grade students who score at or above the 95th percentile on any nationally normed test. When students decide to participate, they complete the Talent Search application, register to take an above-grade-level test, and take the two-part timed test at a local test center. 

“I just took the test and didn’t expect anything,” said Kamerling. 

The tests identify academic talent and reveal gaps between a child's academic program and her actual capacity for learning. Seventh and eighth graders take the SAT or ACT—the same tests used for college admissions. These students, along with second through sixth graders, can also take the School and College Ability Test (SCAT), an above-level test, or the Spatial Test Battery (STB), which measures spatial ability.

“She tore right through it,” said her father, Erik Kamerling. “As a sixth-grader, she scored as a ninth-grader.”

Maria Blackburn, communications specialist for the John Hopkins University CTY, thinks it is important for bright students to take the SAT and other above grade level tests and find out how well they can do.

“How do you know what the ceiling is for these students if you don’t give them the opportunity to show how much they know that’s above their grade level?” said Blackburn. 

Kamerling said she was surprised by the test results. “I thought, oh, wow, really? I did well on that?” 

Her parents recognized that the more Kamerling achieved, the more she wanted to learn.  Every time they moved the bar a little – from reading in Kindergarten to the Saratoga Scholars program to accelerated classes in science and math – she would meet and exceed it.  

“We were notified about the CTY program through the school’s guidance department when they told us she scored in the top of the standardized tests,” said Erik Kamerling. Kamerling’s parents knew it would be a good opportunity for her.

Blackburn agreed. “Academic recognition may not be as prevalent as recognition for sports or other pursuits at some schools, and these award ceremonies are an opportunity to recognize the intellectual achievement of kids who are academically advanced. CTY challenges them, fosters their love of learning, and connects them with other bright students who share their interests.”

Kamerling’s love of school is just one side of this bright young student, who is much like any other girl her age. She’s been playing violin for four years and is a member of the drama club. “I like the story,” she said. “You get to imagine yourself as one of the characters.” She also likes to skateboard, juggle, and play darts. She says she does get stuck on her homework, sometimes, too.

“When I don’t understand something,” she said, “I ask my dad.” 

The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth is a nonprofit that identifies academic talent in the world’s brightest K-12 learners and supports their growth with accredited summer, online, and family programs, services, and resources designed to meet their needs. CTY draws students from 50 states and nearly 82 countries worldwide. For more information about enrolling in the CTY Talent Search, go to www.cty.jhu.edu

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