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Awesome CTYers

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"I found my love for poetry at CTY, and I also found myself at CTY"

Heidi WongWhen Heidi Wong was in first grade, her parents enrolled her in an international school so she could learn English. Growing up in Beijing, Heidi spoke only Mandarin. Her parents, both investors, spoke several languages, but not English.  

At first, Heidi struggled to keep up with her classmates who were native English speakers. “I was made fun of by some of the kids because I couldn’t understand what they were saying,” she said. Her parents helped by taking her to the library, where she would stare at children’s books in English for hours trying to connect the words with the pictures.

With time, she became fluent in English, and the children’s books later gave way to Edgar Allen Poe stories, Agatha Christie novels, and paintings by René Magritte and Jenny Saville. These supplied Heidi with endless hours of entertainment – but they also made her feel different....Read more about this Awesome CTYer.

My Electrifying CTY Summer

Travis MorrisonThirty years ago, Travis Morrison was a computer-loving 12-year-old from Alexandria, Va., who had never spent much time away from home.

The small Montessori school he attended was something of a “hippie enclave,” complete with its own pet horse. In his free time, he liked to program hand-me-down computers and play sports, though he concedes he was “small and slow—which was frustrating, but it didn’t stop me.”

His world got a little bigger that June when he arrived at the CTY Summer Programs site at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. “I had never been a summer-camp kid, and had never gone to boarding school, so I remember that having to get myself down to the hall for breakfast was a big deal,” Travis said....Read more about this Awesome CTYer.

CTYer wins big in National STEM competition

Joe ZurierResearching a complex math problem can be tedious, lonely, and exasperating. But in the case of CTYer Joseph Zurier, it also led to a giant scholarship and a week’s worth of sushi. Yay math!

Joseph, 17, of Providence, R.I., spent last fall investigating “the joint problem,” a geometric uncertainty that attempts to determine the maximum number of joints that can be created using a given number of lines. It has potential applications in computer graphics and medicine....Read more about this Awesome CTYer.

Postcards from the heart

William ScannellWilliam Scannell’s eye-opening trip to the Middle East as a 6-year-old sparked a desire to learn Arabic. Now, the fifth-grade CTYOnline student from Alaska is speaking, reading, and writing the language, and using his experiences to communicate with kids living in imperiled parts of the world.

William was just out of first grade when he first visited Jerusalem and other Middle Eastern cities with his father. In the airport on the way home, he told his dad he wanted to learn Arabic. He took his first class with CTYOnline in 2012 and picked up the language quickly. Now, three years later, he’s finishing up his seventh Arabic class.

“CTY is just pretty awesome and my instructors have been pretty nice and supportive of me even though I’m younger than everyone else,” he said....Read more about this Awesome CTYer.

A home run for CTY

Dan MerzelDan Merzel is passionate about two things—math and baseball.

Math he excelled at in school and on his own, taking CTYOnline algebra courses in eighth grade, majoring in applied math and statistics at Johns Hopkins University, and earning an MA in math education.

Baseball he played afternoons and on weekends, first in Little League, then in high school, and later at Hopkins, where his team made it to the 2008 Division III College World Series....Read more about this Awesome CTYer.