This has been a very big summer for Jake and we are barely halfway through. He applied to and successfully garnered a slot at the summer Governor's School, had his Bar Mitzvah, turned thirteen, entered an essay competition at the Governor's School and won, and completely nailed the placement exam for the Gifted program.
The last two items I haven't mentioned before because we had just found out about them this past week.
The essay competition was open to his class at school and was for a chance to attend an event at the Newseum in DC commemorating the 40 th anniversary of Apollo 11. This is part of the press release from the Newseum website:
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of this historic flight, the Newseum will host a special program on the future of space discovery. The July 20 program is a public event honoring Apollo 11’s anniversary and NASA’s ongoing exploration of space.
Veteran journalist Nick Clooney moderates a panel discussion with Aldrin, Charlie Duke of Apollo 16, John Grunsfeld, of the recent Hubble mission, and Goddard Space Flight Center deputy director Laurie Leshin.
The discussion will air on NASA TV and will be simulcast to science centers across the United States. A question-and-answer session will follow the program.
Now how cool is that. He gets to attend an event with the very first two men that have walked on the moon and, hopefully, ask them questions about their experience. I so wish I could be there too, but it is just not possible. The best part was that he really did write the essay himself. He did get some coaching from his Aunt Meryl, but she made sure it was his own words.
We got word of his winning a slot on Friday. That morning I was very busy getting his train ticket and making sure it was coordinated with the teachers that were chaperoning the six winners.
On Monday Jake had an appointment to be retested for both Math and Verbal skills. Last February was the official testing period for the Gifted program. He nailed the History, Science, and Reading Comprehension portions, with scores of 99%. Math and Vocabulary were another story. He pretty much bombed both with the respective scores of 74% and 79%. This precluded him from the Gifted program and dumped him from honor's math.
My reaction to this was Heck No!
He has been pulling down A's and B's in Math with a final grade of A. There was no way he was getting dropped from accelerated math. I called up and found out that he had missed answering 10 of the thirty odd questions. They had been duly marked as wrong and had torpedoed his score. The guidance consular then told me that there was an appeal process and that we had a very good case.
Larry and I wrote a letter and faxed it off to the central testing office appealing the decision. Initially we were told that the period for appeals was long over, but Larry informed them that we had just found out about his denial. So instead we had to wait another week until the person that handled appeals was back from vacation.
The following Monday, just as Larry was about to do a follow up phone call, the person handling our appeal called Larry. She agreed that the test scores really didn't match the data they had on Jake. She asked if they could retest him in both Math and Vocabulary. We were all for it. After a bit of calling back and forth and consulting schedules we settled on 11:30 am on Monday the 13th.
Jake was in fine form that day. I made sure he was well rested and had a big breakfast. He went in with confidence and totally kicked some testing butt. He got a 97% on Vocab and, drum roll please... 100% on Math.
When he was brought back to the front of the office he was chatting with the woman in charge of his appeal. She informed me of his scores and told us right then and there that he clearly qualified for the Gifted program. She would start the paper work immediately. She them commented to me privately that Jake had some amazing math skills.
Well yes, that is what we have been saying all along.