Former Duke TIP student shares experience with Rotary Club

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Erick Juarez stands with June Faircloth after the Rotary program about the Duke University Talent Identification Program. — Carolyn Iamon

A former participant of the Duke University Talent Identification Program, (Duke TIP) Erick Juarez, accompanied June Faircloth to Rotary Tuesday to explain what his being able to attend the summer camp for gifted students has meant to his life.

Juarez said his family immigrated to the U.S. from a poor section of Mexico. His parents had little education and were unable to speak English. They lived in the Attapulgus area where his parents worked as migrant workers. Erick describes attending school as having saved the day for him.

Juarez, who just this spring graduated from Harvard University, was identified as a gifted student when he was in second grade at Lillian B. Williams Elementary School in Attapulgus. When he attended West Bainbridge Middle School he heard about the Duke TIP program and was encouraged to apply. He scored high enough to be accepted, and due to scholarships he was able to attend for three summers, beginning with 2006.

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He described his first trip in 2006 as exciting, going on his first airplane flight and being away from home for the first time. He found the Duke campus beautiful and was amazed at the diversity of the people he met there, the majority of them coming from urban and privileged environments. He shared dorm rooms with persons having Indian, Korean and Chinese backgrounds.

His thirst for knowledge was enhanced by the course work, as he explored Algebra II, Pharmacy and Abnormal Psychology.

Classes met for intensive study for 7 hours a day, six days a week, for three weeks, allowing students to receive course credit for their work.

They also had a structured version of college life, with social events.

Juarez said TIP set the course for him for attending college. It helped him transition to urban college life in the North and to reach his goals.

June Faircloth closed the program by promoting the importance of funding the Dylan Reid Faircloth scholarship fund that has enabled five gifted Bainbridge students to attend Duke TIP. The cost to send one student is now $4,300. Corporate and community club sponsorships are encouraged.

Her late son Dylan, for whom the scholarship is named, attended TIP each summer from 7th grade through high school. The Dylan Reid Faircloth Epic 5K Challenge, sponsored each year in his memory, helps raise funds for the scholarships. The run is scheduled this year on November 20 at the Christmas Tree Farm.

Since 1980, more than 2.5 million gifted youth have explored the heights of their abilities through Duke TIP’s annual talent searches, which identify and support gifted youth in middle and high schools.

Learn more about Duke TIP at