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PCCF supports academically gifted students at Polk Middle

Polk County Middle School students who participated in the Duke TIP program this year. (photo by Brian Taylor)

Polk County Middle School students who participated in the Duke TIP program this year. (photo by Brian Taylor)

Duke TIP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving academically gifted and talented students.

Duke TIP works with students, families, educators and the community to identify, recognize, challenge and help students reach their highest potential. The organization identifies bright seventh grade students who demonstrated mastery on their End of Grade test scores and invites them to participate in the Talent Identification Program. These students are invited to take either the SAT or the ACT college entrance exams as seventh graders, which allows them insight into their academic abilities. This year, a record 21 seventh grade students from Polk County Middle School participated in the Duke TIP. Of these students, six qualify for the State Recognition Program, indicating they scored at or above the national average of recent high school average on at least one part of the ACT or SAT.

This year, the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF) launched a new pilot initiative to provide full merit scholarships for students that have qualified for Duke TIP Summer Studies Programs. These three-week courses held on college campuses range from studies about the human body, creative writing, mythology in contemporary fiction, code breaking and forensic anthropology, to name a few. Eight students have received scholarships from the community foundation of at least $3,600 each to attend these camps this summer.

These students are Willow Arkell, Drew Bailey, Leigh Anna Evette, Katie Hay, Isaac Smith and Jake Weis. Eighth graders Rhian Alley and Sam Rhinehart will also participate in the program. Other qualifiers are Haley Fowler and Michaela Franklin.

– article submitted by Jeanne Burgin