By Deborah G. Steele
One local home-schooled pupil didn't wait until high school to take the college admissions ACT. Instead, he took the test last year in seventh grade and scored higher than most college-bound high school seniors.
William Sessions, who has been home-schooled since he was in the first grade, said the achievement definitely made him proud.
"I was obviously very satisfied and very pleased with how I performed on the test," said William, the 13-year-old son of John and Lark Sessions, of Martinez.
William scored in the 96th percentile on the college entrance exam as part of Duke University's Talent Identification Program. For his high score, William was invited to be recognized at the school's Grand Recognition Ceremony in Durham, N.C., in May.
Duke University's TIP selects seventh-graders in 16 states in the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest who score in the top 5 percent on a grade-level assessment test. The students are then invited to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or ACT as seventh-graders. Those who score above the 93rd percentile are recognized by the school at a ceremony.
"The gifted youngster is arguably America's most precious natural resource," said Martha Putallaz, Duke University's TIP executive director, in a media release. "It is essential that we identify such children early so that their talents can be nurtured and developed."
Among William's talents is music. The youngster has been playing the piano for nine years and took up the clarinet two years ago. He is a member of the Augusta Christian high school band, Augusta State University's Conservatory Wind Symphony and plays with the Augusta Concert Band. He also was awarded the superior rating from the Georgia Music Educators Association for wind instrument solo and ensemble performances earlier this year.
William, who enjoys video gaming, swimming and playing basketball, expects to be home-schooled for at least the next few years, and likely through high school.
"I'm probably not going to take it again until I'm in high school," he said of the ACT. "I just decided to take it last year because it was an opportunity. I guess it was sort of to see how I'd do."
William hasn't yet decided what he'll do with his intellectual talents, but said he'll likely pursue a career involving computers.
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