Tag Archives: stories

The Best Hideout in the World

By Zadra Rose Ibañez

girl-reading-library

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

Summer, Tuesday afternoon, 3pm. You find me sitting at a beautiful wooden table with the sunlight streaming in through the window panes, perfectly spotlighting my notebook and pen. I write until the sun climbs off the table and only fluorescent light illuminates my writing.

I am at the library, and I am happy. Comfortable, calm, at peace. I feel powerful: full of potential and opportunity.

When I was little, my mother would take me to the library each week to get my fill of reading materials. The children’s section was to the left of the entrance and the grown-up section was to the right. My mom allowed me to go off to the kids’ books on my own – giving me autonomy in a safe space. I remember reading Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock to my mom at bedtime, a chapter a night.

Read more of Zadra’s reflections on the library!

Reflections on Apprenticeship 2014

By Min-Ling Li

Min-Ling is IEA’s Apprenticeship Program Coordinator. IEA’s residential summer Apprenticeship Program links gifted high school students from across the country with mentors who advance each participant’s skills through the application of knowledge and exposure to real world experiences. These life lessons in personal and intellectual development are invaluable to their growth and assist them in making pertinent connections for the future.

High School Apprenticeship Program

Min-Ling (far left) with the four- and seven-week Apprentices

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso

I had the honor of spending seven weeks – a time that has magically flown by – alongside wonderful students whom I could not get enough of. Their passion and diligence radiated all around them, and I watched each of them grow over the course of the summer. I feel privileged to have been witness to not only their physical growth (hair and height) but to the development of their perseverance and the bloom of their self-confidence.

As an IEA Apprentice, students must possess an innate desire to learn and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Driven by these characteristics, each Apprentice worked alongside eminent professionals, becoming a vital part of a research team and/or project. These opportunities posed challenges that gifted students typically do not face in the classroom. The unique difficulties posed by the need to acquire as much knowledge of a subject as possible in an effort to become a productive contributor and by entering into professional cultures they had not yet experienced helped each student develop a newfound maturity. Doctors, research scientists, lawyers, and I comprised the team of mentors who committed to providing support for the Apprentices as they began to mature intellectually and socially, and we provided opportunities for them to learn and to succeed on their own laurels.

Apprentices cultivated relationships with each other and found the acceptance and the strength they needed to conquer the challenges they faced. After each arduous work day, dinner was the time when they shared their struggles to comprehend complex science jargon, algorithms, design techniques, and intricate medical procedures, all the while discussing their experiences with hot wire cutters and petri dishes. Somehow, dinner conversations always culminated in discussions about who they were rooting for on MasterChef or the games they planned to play back at the dorm.

During the evenings and on weekends, Resident Advisers and I engaged the Apprentices’ teenage selves. In an effort to bridge asynchronous highly able minds with their adolescent emotional and psychological needs, we played Pictionary, bowled, went ice skating, and attended a baseball game. Many of the kids also completed summer AP assignments, and many watched a Harry Potter marathon. Astonishingly, I watched each of the Apprentices achieve balance.

At this time last year, I could only dream of these young adults, who have now exceeded all of my expectations. It is now time to plan for next year’s program, and I can only imagine who the phenomenal students will be that take part in Apprenticeship 2015.

See photos from Apprenticeship 2014!
Apprenticeship2014Photos

Do you know a gifted high school student who would benefit from Apprenticeship? Sign up for our email list to stay updated on our 2015 offerings!

Yunasa 2014

By Jennifer de la Haye

Jennifer is a recent addition to the IEA staff and attended Yunasa for the first time this summer. IEA’s pioneering Yunasa summer camps unite highly able youngsters with experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children. Campers explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of their lives.

Whole-camp

Yunasa 2014 left me breathless – perhaps because this was my first Yunasa experience, or perhaps because Yunasa is a special and unique hub of safety, growth, and unparalleled camp-magic. The afternoon of Sunday, July 27, campers began to filter into the conference center of Camp Copneconic in Fenton, Michigan; some brows were knitted, some smiles were uncertain, some faces looked thoughtful. Several of the kids seemed to float, others skipped, many hugged with excited ferocity, quite a few squealed and jumped up and down as they spotted a friend. The older campers – deemed either EL for ‘Emerging Leader’ or CIT for ‘Counselor in Training’ – whose bonds with one another are indurate after years of Yunasa, dispersed to welcome the younger campers, show them to their rooms, and initiate ice-breaking exercises. Kids who seemed a bit apprehensive were directed to the table of Yunasa Buddies, cuddly stuffed animals donated by staff and campers meant to offer a bit of comfort throughout the week.

Group-table

On the first night of camp, Newbury Honor Award winner and IEA Senior Fellow Stephanie Tolan led a group discussion on her work, Flight of the Raven, the second book in a series about four gifted youth who combine powers to save a violent, troubled world. I was immediately struck by the depth and intelligence of the conversation; the questions the campers asked were interesting and insightful. And so mature. Was I sitting in on a college literature course or was I watching a summer camp unfold?

See more highlights from camp!

Summer Academy at The Huntington – A Scholar’s Paradise

By Louise Hindle

Louise is IEA’s Academy Coordinator. Academy offers K-8th grade students challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and application of knowledge.

A group of Summer Academy students enjoys The Huntington's gardens and has fun with new friends made over lunch

A group of Summer Academy students spends lunchtime enjoying The Huntington’s gardens and having fun with new friends

This year, IEA had the tremendous opportunity to host both 3-week Summer Academy sessions at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, that scholar’s paradise situated in the center of San Marino, known and loved by curious minds near and far, young and not so young! It was a boon to our community to enjoy this remarkable location, and more, to begin to appreciate how such partnering might enrich our classes further. As we conclude our inaugural Academy program at The Huntington, we look back at the summer sessions through the eyes of our most important critics: the Academy students themselves!

See more highlights from Summer 2014 Academy

IEA Summer Spotlight 2014

By Jennifer de la Haye

“I am happy to be in a room of too’s,” said Betsy Jones, IEA President, as we concluded IEA’s Summer Spotlight this year. “We are all too’s – too emotional, too smart, too intense….”

Tuesday, June 8, was a bright evening of community, learning, and friendship as IEA and its community gathered at the University of Southern California for dinner and a time of sharing. Eight IEA Apprentices, who studied Industrial Design under Stan Kong at Art Center College of Design, displayed their impressive concept design sketches – pieces of art that would later become final projects. Posters, books, and sculptures created by Academy students, Caroline D. Bradley Scholars, and Yunasa campers were also scattered about USC’s Vineyard Room, along with plenty of photos of Academy kids at The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens; Yunasa West campers frolicking in Colorado; and CDB Scholars who convened for the Bradley Seminar in April.

IMG_0344IMG_4479IMG_4477 See some of the highlights from Summer Spotlight!

Preparing for High School

By Lauren F.

Lauren is a 2012 Caroline D. Bradley Scholar and a rising high school sophomore attending a boarding school in Connecticut. She recently shared with us what she thinks incoming freshmen should know to help them prepare to enter high school. Here are her tips.

nervous-squareI don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous and excited for anything in my life than I was for starting high school. But let me emphasize “nervous,” as I’m sure all of you rising freshmen are or will be.

Therefore, I’ve compiled a very brief list of how to get prepared over the summer – in other words, a list of all of the things I wish that I’d done before my own freshman year!

1) Make a detailed list of what you’re going to need in the fall!

It turns out that just writing “clothes,” “shoes,” and “school supplies” leaves a lot of room for forgetting important things. Instead, make it specific: “six multicolored binders,” “rain boots,” “soccer cleats.” For boarders, this is twice as important, because there are things for your room that you’re really going need to remember: dryer sheets, duct tape, staplers, snack food, etc.

Read more of Lauren’s tips!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Sneha

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s Apprenticeship Program – mentioned in this story – links gifted high school students from across the country with mentors who advance each participant’s skills through the application of knowledge and exposure to real world experiences.

SnehaC

Sneha Chidambaram
2013 Apprentice, Social Media and Media Relations, University of Southern California

“At first, I was definitely intimidated to enter into a real, adult workplace as a mere high school junior. But looking back, I feel this one nerve-wracking transition was what helped me gain more confidence in myself,” high school senior Sneha explained about her IEA Apprenticeship experience.

A counselor at an SAT Prep center told Sneha about IEA’s programs. “What interested me the most about IEA Apprenticeship was the fact that I would be working one-on-one and alongside a professional in my desired field of study, business. After searching for numerous summer programs as an anxious high school junior interested in business, I felt that the Social Media and Media Relations Apprenticeship suited my interests perfectly, as it is the perfect opportunity for getting a snapshot into the business world.”

During her apprenticeship, Sneha conducted competitive market research on Facebook pages, websites, and Twitter feeds; developed a logo; and wrote a news release that was published on the USC News and USC Marshall School of Business websites.

I asked Sneha how she felt going back to high school after her Apprenticeship. “In terms of academics, I feel my procrastination has reduced drastically, and I approach my tasks more methodically. I have definitely grown to plan effectively and manage my time more wisely!”

This summer, Sneha’s plans include “relaxing, eating, shopping, and hanging out with my friends and family,” before heading east to attend University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School to study business. “After my Apprenticeship, I can definitely say that I fell in love with the corporate world, and I definitely intend to work in a corporate firm upon my college graduation. At this point in time, I am leaning more towards the financial sector, so I aspire to work in either a top investment banking firm, or maybe even a private equity firm!”

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Sneha (second from left) with her Mentors and Apprenticeship alumnus Hunter at IEA’s Summer Spotlight 2013

See what Sneha and other IEA program participants said about their IEA experiences at our 2013 Summer Spotlight.

Want to meet more bright and talented individuals? Sign up for our e-newsletters, which regularly feature a different face of gifted.

Fathering a Gifted Child

By Jennifer de la Haye

“Dad, I love you, but I’m sick of all your dumb ideas today.”

Meet Soren, my four-year-old nephew whose favorite philosopher is Alvin Plantinga, who concocts impromptu flash fiction, who composes songs to sing to his baby brother, who creates elaborate yet surprisingly practical Lego inventions, and whose father has carefully engaged him since he was old enough to poop.

Fathers-day-gifted

When my brother, Louis, learned of his wife’s pregnancy, he immediately gasped, “But I haven’t solved the problem of education in America yet!” Like most parents who feel unready, unprepared, and unequipped to introduce a tiny new human into our intricate, flawed world, he dove right in: he reads to Soren about theology, he reads countless children’s stories, he reads the Bible, he reads Plato, he talks to him about ideas, and most importantly, he engages with Soren’s thoughts and questions, no matter how exhausted or busy or emotionally drained he feels.

Read more about Louis and Soren!

Disrespectful or Misunderstood? Gifted Students in the Classroom

By Lisa Hartwig

Lisa is the mother of 3 gifted children and lives outside of San Francisco.

Gifted Students in the ClassroomI can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a parent say, “My child is gifted but he’s not one of those disrespectful know-it-all kids.” These parents are referring to the gifted gold standard: a child who knows the answers but politely participates in all of the class discussions with the appropriate amount of enthusiasm. Everyone wants this poster child, but they are hard to find, mostly because the traits that make them gifted also make it difficult for them to behave like model students. Parents might try to mold their gifted kids into this ideal, but it comes at a cost.

I learned the price of my son’s struggle to become a model student during our recent college road trip. We were sitting in a lecture hall filled with eager parents and high school students waiting to hear the admissions officer’s pearls of wisdom. Around 2:15, she started to talk. Around 2:25, I realized she hadn’t said anything. I had listened intently for 10 minutes and, as far as I could tell, she only made one point. Her speech was peppered with “…to put it another way” and “I don’t mean to repeat myself but…” I started to get annoyed. I was stuck in a room with 100 other awestruck parents and teenagers waiting for some information on the school’s culture, classes or admissions policies. Instead, I got a lot of words. So, I did what any mature 51 year old woman would do: I passed a note to my son. 10,000 words and still she hasn’t said anything, I wrote on a small notepad. My son’s eyes widened, he took the pen and wrote, I’m chewing gum to stay awake.

The information session went on for an hour and fifteen minutes. She made 3 points. By the time we left the school, I was mad.

Read the rest of Lisa’s story!

A Supportive Mother for a Gifted Kid

By Jennifer Kennedy

Before joining IEA, Jennifer was a kid who understood little of her own giftedness. Now she works as IEA’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator to help other highly able kids and their families understand what it means to be gifted while providing the information they need to find the programs and people to support them.

Image from kidsedustuff.blogspot.com

Image from kidsedustuff.blogspot.com

My mom has been there for me from the moment I came into this world, and I have always appreciated everything she has done for me. Lately, though, I’ve begun to see how different my life might have been had my upbringing lacked certain values my mom implemented – things that made her a good mother to a gifted child.

My mom nurtured my gifts and my passions. She knew I was smart, so she challenged me intellectually. She knew I was driven, so she supported me without heaping more pressure on top of the pressure I placed on myself. Before either of us had encountered the term “whole child,” my mom encouraged me to grow in all aspects of self.

She challenged me intellectually. Knowing I loved reading and was a strong reader, she encouraged me to read above-grade-level books. When I was learning about something in school, she would take me to museums to see the subject first-hand, demonstrating that there is knowledge to be gained beyond the textbook. When it came time to choose my own classes in school, she encouraged me to take the advanced classes, and she accepted my less-than-perfect grades when I challenged myself and faced the demands of a difficult course. She taught me that, no matter how smart I was or how well I did in school, there was always so much more to learn.

She challenged me physically, encouraging me to try a variety of sports and physical activities outside of school until I found my niche. And, when I found what I really liked—dance—she encouraged me to work hard and challenge myself, both physically and creatively.

She supported me socially and emotionally, as well. I always knew I was different, and although I participated in a GATE pull-out program once a week, no one in my life understood that the intrinsic intelligence of a gifted child is usually coupled with other characteristics such as overexcitabilities. It took a lot of patience, understanding, love, and acceptance to deal with my emotional outbursts over ostensibly benign incidents. It also took an insightful mother to realize that dance had become vital to my social life as it allowed me to build relationships with older kids who understood me intellectually and younger kids whom I could take under my wing.

After years of guidance, when the time came for me to lead, my mother followed. She embraced my decision to dance—despite not liking dance herself—even when it meant giving up other things she thought were important. She let me lead my college search, which took me much farther from home than she would have liked. She watched me trek through Europe for a semester without her. She supported my decision to choose a more creative field—communications—over a more practical one (both my parents are accountants).

Without all of this support from my mother, I don’t know what would have happened. Every day, I hear stories of gifted kids who fall through the cracks because they are bored, unchallenged, and misunderstood, and it breaks my heart. If my mother hadn’t instinctually understood that my “whole self” needed support, I might have become one of those unfortunate children.

Thank you to all of the moms who do everything they can to support their gifted children while protecting them from slipping through the cracks. You make a huge difference in your child’s life each and every day. Happy Mother’s Day.