. . .is the ability to learn easily. She is an academically gifted child. She is very humble about this and knows that it is truly a gift from God.
I need to give the back story here. Back in December, we received a letter from Tara's school stating that she had been invited into an accelerated math program. In this program, she would leave her school campus to be instructed in math by Professors from Michigan State University. We went to an informational meeting, and found out more about it. It's called CHAMP (The Cooperative Highly Accelerated Mathematics Program). It's designed to allow mathematically gifted students to master the standard high school mathematics curriculum within a two year period--consisting of 2 years of algebra, a year of geometry and a 4th course including trigonometry and college algebra as major components (all while in middle school). CHAMP covers the equivalent of one year of high school mathematics in one semester: the 2 algebra courses are covered during the first year and the geometry and trigonometry/college algebra are covered in the second year of the program. Students who successfully complete the two years of CHAMP are ready to begin calculus. This program will replace her schools math curriculum and she will be taught by MSU professors. Only a few children in her school were invited into this program. What an honor!!!
In order to qualify for the program, the students needed to take the ACT and she needed to score at least a 21 in the mathematics section and have a composite score of at least 23. There were approximately 40 children vying for one of 21 openings into this amazing program and life opportunity.
I immediately hired a tutor who could help her prepare for the test which was given February 9th, as I knew there was no way that I could effectively prepare her! Tara met with her tutor 2 times per week. She did very well on her practice tests, but in math, lack of speed was catching her up. Tara is very thorough with her work and at the tender age of 11, she just wasn't fast enough. When testing day came, I tried to calm her nerves as we drove there. Along with praying together, one of the things I told her, was to do all of the easy math problems first, and then go back and do the difficult ones. When she came out of the test, she said "I did terrible! I forgot to do the easy problems first and I ran out of time. I had to randomly guess on like 20 of them!!". I asked her how she felt she did on the math problems which she completed, and she said she felt like she did well on those. I asked her how she did on the rest of the test (English, Reading, and Science) and all she said was "It was hard". I told Tara that I was so proud of her for even getting invited into the program, and for working so hard with her tutor. I said "If it is God's will, you will be in it. If not, then He has another plan for you at the moment." Hearing that gave her a sense of peace. I told her that just having the opportunity to take the test was a great experience and not many little girls get to experience that. Knowing that ultimately it was in God's hands made the waiting period for the test results very easy for Tara. On Friday, we got the results. She was at school and was not coming home that night. She and Madeline were having a sleep over at a friends house. Alone in the house, I opened the envelop and started reading her results, and I began shaking. I could not believe what I was seeing. Here are her results. Notice where she ranked against all of the other testers in the entire U.S., and remember, eleven years old!!
I contacted the coordinator of the CHAMP program, because I wanted to explain to her that Tara's math score did not effectively rate her ability. I wanted to explain that her score (which is VERY, VERY good!!!) would have been better if she had more time. I wanted her to know that I felt strongly that Tara would be a great candidate for the program and that her school was rallying behind her and the teachers were going to support and help her with the math. When I told her what her scores were, she was floored. She said that they will be making the decision in May, and that she sits on the panel who decides. She told me that she is almost positive that Tara is in. YAY!!!!!! God is truly blessing this child and I love her so very much!