11-year-old Indian-American girl among world’s brightest students

New Jersey school student Natasha Peri among Johns Hopkins Talent Search “High Honors” winners

Natasha Peri, an 11-year-old Indian American student at a New Jersey school has made the cut for Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) “High Honors Awards.”

A student of Thelma L Sandmeier Elementary School in New Jersey, she won the honors for her exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar assessment taken as part of the Johns Hopkins Search, according to a CTY statement.

“This motivates me to do more,” Peri said, adding that doodling and reading J.R.R Tolkien’s novels may have worked for her.

She was one of nearly 19,000 students from 84 countries who joined CTY in the 2020-21 Talent Search year.

US colleges require students to take either the standardized Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the American College Testing (ACT) and submit their scores to their prospective universities. In some cases, companies and non-profits also use these scores to award merit-based scholarships.

Peri took the Johns Hopkins Talent Search test in Spring 2021, when she was in Grade 5. Her results in the verbal and quantitative sections leveled with the 90th percentile of advanced Grade 8 performance.

Besides Peri, another Indian origin student, Priyamvada Deshmukh, 12, a student of GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai, was honored for her exceptional performance on the SCAT assessment taken as part of the CTY Talent Search.

Deshmukh took the Search test in Spring 2020, when she was still in Grade 6. Her results in the verbal sections leveled with the advanced Grade 10 performance.

Due to the Covid19 induced delay in global logistics support, she finally received her much awaited “High Honors” pin this week, which she lovingly kept in front of her grandparents’ photograph as tribute to her roots.

The delay in officially getting the certificates did not stop her from attending the summer programe at John Hopkins University’s CTY in English literature where she studied the confluence of Art and Science in literary writing and completed the course scoring ‘A’ Grade.

She followed up with top scoring the second level of Asset Talent Examination which also qualified her for summer program at NorthWestern University this year, where she is learning about world building in fiction writing this year.

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Her elder brother was among the first UAE students to have cleared the Duke University TIP (Talent Identification Programe) when he was in Class 8.

Her parents joke that its nothing but routine sibling rivalry that she wanted to achieve the same, just a year ahead of her brother.

Even though she loves Physics and Computer Science as subjects, unlike her elder brother (who is Chancellor’s Scholarship holder student of Astro Physics at University of Massachusetts), Deshmukh wants to pursue humanities and literature when she goes to college five years down the lane.

CTY uses above-grade-level testing to identify advanced students from around the world and provide a clear picture of their true academic abilities. As part of Johns Hopkins policy, granular information is not broken down by age or race.

Likewise, it is left to the guardian to disclose the prodigy’s name. Within the US, awardees come from all 50 US states. Less than 20 per cent of CTY Talent Search participants qualified for CTY High Honors Awards.

Honorees also qualified for CTY’s online and summer programs, through which bright students can form a community of engaged learners with other bright students from around the world.

“We are thrilled to celebrate these students,” said Virginia Roach, CTY’s executive director.

“In a year that was anything but ordinary, their love of learning shined through, and we are excited to help cultivate their growth as scholars and citizens throughout high school, college, and beyond,” she stated.

There are more than 15,500 enrollments in CTY Online Programs courses each year. In addition, CTY’s in-person Summer Programs for bright students is offered at about 20 sites in the United States and Hong Kong, the release said.

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