Benjamin Kuleshov and Abhay Rao, students from Holmdel, were honored recently as two of the brightest middle school students in the world at an international awards ceremony sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY).
The center honored Benjamin and Abhay, both William R. Satz School students enrolled in Voyagers, the Holmdel district’s Gifted and Talented program, for their exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar college-readiness assessment taken as part of the 2015-2016 CTY Talent Search. CTY uses above-grade-level testing to identify advanced students from around the world and provide a clear picture of the students’ true academic abilities. Abhay Rao also qualified for CTY’s Julian C. Stanley Study of Exceptional Talent by scoring 700 or higher on the math or verbal section of the SAT under age of 13.
This year, more than 27,000 students in second through eighth grades participated in CTY’s Talent Search, representing all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Seventh and eighth graders from this group who scored high enough on their above-grade-level test were invited to attend CTY’s Grand Ceremony on October 16 on the Johns Hopkins University’s main campus. Nearly 1,000 students and their families were invited to the ceremony this year.
“Students, your excellent test scores are what brought us here today, but this is a celebration of what is behind those scores: a love of learning, a strong work ethic, and a high value placed on taking risks and welcoming challenges,” said Elaine Tuttle Hansen, executive director of CTY, speaking at the ceremony. “These are qualities that will provide you with many opportunities in the years ahead as you continue to grow as students and scholars.”
At least 75 of the students honored at the ceremony achieved a perfect score on the reading or math section of their test. In addition, more than 400 Talent Search participants under age 13 achieved a score of 700 or higher on the math or verbal section of the SAT, and in turn, qualified for CTY’s Julian C. Stanley Study of Exceptional Talent.
Holmdel’s Voyagers program is one way that the district meets the needs gifted learners like Benjamin and Abhay. With the motto “Learning…the voyage of a lifetime,” the program continues at Holmdel High School with courses such as Honors Advanced Research and a full complement of other honors and advanced placement courses.