Meigs teen selected for program for advanced students

Gus Kennedy

TUPPERS PLAINS — Gus Kennedy, a 13-year-old soon-to-be Eastern Middle School eighth grader from Tuppers Plains, will attend the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth’s challenging programs for academically gifted second through 12th graders this summer.

“I’m speechless,” Kennedy said. “It was kind of a surprise; mom just sprung it on me.”

Kennedy joins more than 9,400 other students from across the United States and around the world who, because of their outstanding academic abilities, will engage in summer programs held by the Center for Talented Youth (CTY). Founded in 1979, CTY has been “nurturing academic talent in young people” for 35 years.

This is Kennedy’s third year of camps on college campuses. His first two campus took place at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. His first residential camp centered on “writing and imagination,” and last year his camp was the Chesapeake Bay Camp. He also a 12-week course on inventions and engineering, and took other courses on advanced math and life science. He credited his grandfather with introducing him to the courses.

This summer, Kennedy will be taking the CTY summer program “Whales and Estuary Systems” at Living Classrooms Foundation. In this course, students learn about whales at Stellwagen Bank near Boston, Mass., and compare and contrast estuary systems along the northeastern U.S. coast. During their eight-day field component, students sail and sleep aboard the Lady Maryland, a 104-foot schooner, and may travel through portions of the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, Hudson River, Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay and the North Atlantic Ocean.

Kennedy said he was most excited about whale watching.

“That’s gonna be cool,” he said.

Throughout their voyage, students employ scientific equipment to analyze water and marine life in these estuary environments. At the Stellwagen Bank, they attempt to survey and monitor the whale population through observation, photo identification and historical analysis.

“This year is going to be really exciting,” Kennedy said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Kennedy qualified for CTY Summer Programs by participating in CTYs annual talent search, which accepts applications from early September through May. During the talent search, advanced young learners take above-grade level tests designed for older students as a means of gaining insight into their abilities. Seventh and eighth graders take the SAT or ACT — the same tests used for college admissions, while second through sixth graders take the School and College Ability Test, an above-level test scaled for younger students.

The Ancient World (for third and fourth graders), Examining the Evidence (for fifth and sixth graders) and Logic and Probability and Game Theory (for seventh through 10th graders) are just a few of the more than 100 CTY summer program courses available during two three-week sessions this summer.

The format of the program makes it possible for bright students to work at an accelerated pace, study topics in-depth and explore subjects that are not usually available to students their age. By participating in CTY, students also have the opportunity to forge friendships with students from around the world who share their interests.

CTY summer programs are offered at 24 sites, from Johns Hopkins University in the east to Stanford University in the west. The center offers two kinds of summer programs. Residential programs, available to students in grades 5-12, provide the opportunity to live on a college campus while studying and socializing with other bright, motivated students. Day programs, open to students in grades 2-6, give younger students the opportunity to pursue intellectually challenging topics in an active, dynamic setting.

For more information about enrolling in the CTY talent search, visit