BHS student tells Rotary of Duke TIP experiences

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sarah Michael Farrington, a sophomore at BHS, told Rotary this week of her experiences in last year’s three-week summer Duke TIP program at Georgia Tech, describing it as “life changing.”

Beginning her speech with the words, “It was the best summer of my life,” Sarah Michael went on to explain the classes that met from six to seven hours a day, including three on Saturdays. “It was intense, but so much fun,” she added. She described it as exciting to be exposed to a climate where everyone was so different and so brilliant. “It was a chance to see the world through different eyes.” It wasn’t all work, as they had evening activities that included challenging games and dances and mixers on the weekends.

The program, as explained by June Faircloth, who introduced Sarah Michael, identifies academically talented students between grades four and six who achieve a qualifying score at or above the 95th percentile on recent grade-level tests. This allows them to be involved in a Duke University talent identification program.

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Known as Duke TIP, the program tracks the development of the students and by 7th grade those eligible may take either the ACT of the SAT—tests normally taken by advanced students as part of the college application process.

Those scores are evaluated and compared to recent high school graduates across the nation.

Those with exceptional performance may qualify for the three-week summer studies programs held on college campuses, one of many other education opportunities offered by TIP.

Faircloth told of the experience of her late son Dylan Faircloth the First, who had attended “nerd camp” as the kids called it, for four consecutive years, where he learned it was “cool” to be smart. A scholarship in Dylan’s honor has been established by the family of one of his roommates at the camp.

Additional funding for the scholarship has been picked up by several local businesses in Decatur County. This scholarship helps to pay the $4000 tuition needed to attend. Faircloth said that so far, five students from Decatur County, including Farrington, have received it.

Faircloth said it is her belief that the students who are chosen to participate in this program will help make an impact and change on the community.