Two people smile

Belin-Blank Awards Four WDMCS Students; Valley Ranks in Top 10 of Iowa AP Index

Sam Throm with his teacher from Westridge Elementary, Nancy Foley, at the Belin-Blank Awards.

Valley Southwoods freshman Sam Throm, Westridge Elementary fifth grader Brogan Kirkpatrick, Indian Hills eighth grader Brian Gu and Valley High School junior Lucy Gee were among the 490 students from Iowa and throughout the nation who were recently invited to be honored at The University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony Oct. 7. Additionally, recognized students were given the opportunity to honor a teacher they credited for having a profound influence on their lives. Throm selected Westridge teacher Nancy Foley, Kirkpatrick selected Dan Gehlbach and Gu selected Indian Hills teacher David Newendorp.Also honored at this year’s ceremony were the Iowa schools that were ranked among the Top 25 of the Iowa AP Index. The index rating was calculated by dividing the number of AP exams taken by the number of students in the school’s graduating class. Valley High School, ranked ninth, was among the Top 10 of the Iowa AP Index for the fourth consecutive year.    

Students were recognized for receiving scholarships for Belin-Blank Center summer residential gifted programs, for being meritorious awardees at the 2012 Invent Iowa State Invention Convention, student research presenters at the 2012 Iowa Junior Science and Humanities Symposium or participants in the 2012 Secondary Science Training Program. Throm and Gu were recognized for their exceptional performance in the Belin-Blank Center student talent search. They were selected to take the ACT test and their test scores qualified them for this honor. Kirkpatrick was honored for placing in the top five percent of the EXPLORE test, an eighth grade level exam given to students in fourth through grades who have received high scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Gee was recognized for being a part of the National Scholars Institute.

Addressing the students, teachers and guests were President Sally Mason, Belin-Blank Advisory Board member Sarvjeev Sidhu and a video from Governor Terry Branstad. UI Head of Department of Ophthamology and Visual Sciences Keith Carter delivered the keynote address to teachers and Anna Zoerner, a former Belin-Blank Center student and current UI senior, delivered the keynote address to the students.

The Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is an international full-service gifted education center at the University of Iowa’s College of Education.