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Duke University Honors Seventh Graders

Middle schoolers take SAT

From left, Ford Blunt, Kyle Givens, Mario'Ne Smith, and Erik Nuño.

Four CHISD middle schoolers made a college entrance exam look easy, and Duke University has taken notice.

This spring several CHISD seventh-graders took the ACT, which includes sections on English, math, reading and science. Ford Blunt, 12, scored in the top 1 percent in science. Most of the test takers are high school juniors or seniors. 

Duke invited Ford to an awards ceremony in Durham, N.C. Additionally, the university will honor him and three other CHISD test takers, Kyle Givens, Mario'Ne Smith, and Erik Nuño, at a state-level recognition for seventh-graders who scored in the 50th national percentile for college-bound seniors. 

All seventh-graders honored at the events are enrolled in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP), a nonprofit that provides resources to gifted students, their parents, educators and schools. Students qualify for the program by scoring at or above the 95th percentile on a grade-level standardized test.  

This fall CHISD administrators who oversee GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), funded by a $6.3 million federal grant, identified students eligible for Duke TIP. Students in the program are encouraged to take college entrance exams. GEAR UP grant dollars covered the ACT testing fees.