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Gifted and Talented Students Challenged by Threshold Summer Camp

By Janlyn Thaxton



“About a third of all gifted students will drop out of high school,” says Dr. Mary Christopher, associate professor of educational studies at Hardin-Simmons University.That stunning statistic is compounded even further by the fact that many gifted students continue to drop out even after high school. “Of the ones who go to college, about a third of them will drop out after the first year,” quotes Christopherfrom a recent study.{{more}}“We are letting some of our best minds go unchallenged, never reaching their full potential. Our schools are geared to meet the needs of the majority, who are average students. The gifted ones just get bored and sometimes quit.”Those statistics are the very reasons behind a two-week long summer program that Hardin-Simmons University has been conducting for the last three decades. The summer enrichment program for gifted children provides an opportunity for children entering kindergarten through 10thgrade to explore topics with intriguing names like Inventions and Inventors, Exploring the Ocean’s Depths, Changes in a City in a Century, and many more topics.You can find those topics listed at the following website:“Imagine a student going into kindergarten reading, while other students are learning the alphabet,” says Christopher. “Gifted students’ learning needs are just as strong as the learning needs of special education students.”Hardin-Simmons University began offering the ThresholdProgram some 30 years ago.The dates of Threshold 2010 are July 12-16 & 19-23.Threshold has been recognized throughout the state as an exemplary enrichment program. It provides challenges for students whose abilities enable them to benefit from experiences beyond those provided by the regular school program.“Few universities provide classes thatenrich and challenge students beginning at such a young age,” says Christopher, who came to HSU in 1995 after having taught gifted children for 15years in Oklahoma and Kentucky. “Teachers in the summer Threshold Program have a wealth of experience in gifted education and most hold a master’s degree in education,”says Christopher.Session I is July 12-16 and Session II is July 19-23. Students may attend one or both sessions. The fee for the younger students is $90 for the five-day session. The fee for the older students is $150 for the session.Students who are not currently involved in a gifted and talented program with their school can be tested for eligibility. Some of the things that set gifted children apart, says Christopher, are humor, being able to connect disciplines, asking questions, a good memory, and a high I.Q.A limited number of scholarships for students with demonstrated economic need are available for the summer program.

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