Honorees stand on the Shriver Hall steps November 23, 2019

Hundreds of students were honored by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth in Baltimore this weekend as some of the brightest in the world.

The students were honored at the CTY Grand Ceremony, held in Shriver Hall on Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus, for their exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar assessment taken as part of the CTY Talent Search. CTY uses above-grade-level testing to identify advanced students and provide a clear picture of their true academic abilities. More than 18,000 students in grades two through eight tested through CTY’s Talent Search between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, representing 50 states and more than 80 countries. More than 2,100 students from this group who scored in the top 12 percent on their test were invited to attend the Grand Ceremony. 

Sunny skies and chilly temperatures greeted families who came from as far as China, Greece, Japan, Korea, Romania, the United Arab Emirates, and more than 30 U.S. states to attend the festivities. Some honorees wore suits and ties or colorful dresses; others wore jeans and sweaters to walk across the stage and accept their medal. Families were also treated to lunch, JHU campus tours, and family workshops led by CTY staff.

At least 40 of the students who tested through CTY’s Talent Search between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 achieved a perfect score on the reading or math section of their test. In addition, more than 380 testers 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.

Aurea Michael, 14, from North Carolina, attended the ceremony with her parents, Andrea and Sangeetha, to be honored for her performance on the SAT. Aurea said she decided to take the test so she could qualify for above-grade-level online courses, as well as for the sheer academic challenge.

“At first, I was scared; I thought it would be super hard, but my dad said, ‘Just try and see what happens,’” Aurea said. For about a month, she took free online practice tests provided through College Board and Khan Academy. When test day finally came, she said, “I was prepared. I jumped in and didn’t think about what might go wrong.”

Aurea was on a family vacation in Disney World when her dad received her test results by email. She’d scored her highest yet. “It felt really amazing to accomplish that as a middle schooler,” she said.

Amy Shelton, CTY’s Interim Executive Director and Director of Research, congratulated the honorees for the knowledge and perseverance they demonstrated by taking a test designed for much older students, and achieving a remarkably high score.

“Above all, today we celebrate your potential,” Shelton said. “In the months and years to come, we hope you’ll stay curious, keep challenging yourself, and continue learning and growing as a scholar. Use your talents to do good things in your communities.”

Students honored at the ceremony also qualified for CTY’s summer, online, and family programs, through which academically advanced students meet and form a community of engaged learners with other bright students from around the world.

Photo caption: Honorees stand on the Shriver Hall steps November 23, 2019 following the first of two CTY Grand Ceremonies.


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Katy Bowman

Maria Blackburn