This summer I attended the Center for Talented Youth (C. T.Y.) summer program. C.T.Y. is run by Johns Hopkins University for students between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, who qualify by earning high scores on the SATs in seventh grade as part of a national talent search. C.T.Y. programs are run at several different colleges around the United States in two three-week sessions. Usually participants in C.T.Y. live at a college for three weeks, but commuter programs are available at some sites. There are a large variety of different courses to choose from in the humanities, mathematics, and sciencess. Each student picks one course for the entire session.
I attended C.T.Y. at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and took a writing course. It was my first time at C.T.Y., and I was a little worried before going that all the kids would be nerds and that we'd never have any fun. I was totally wrong. They were all normal teenagers interested in normal teenage things. I met a lot of different kinds of people: athletes, artists, environmentalists, etc. The social atmosphere was great. Unlike school, which is often exclusive, this was inclusive. No one was ever left out because they were weird or different. I made a lot of great friends and still keep in touch with several. Although classes ran for five hours every day, there was still time to play sports or music, make art, or just hang out. During the weekends there were special activities, dances, and trips to the mall and movies. As for my course, I found it more interesting and challenging than normal school classes. The teachers respected our opinions and intelligence and we were able to discuss topics usually left untouched in school. Although the course was challenging, it was not difficult; we had plenty of time to complete homework during the two-hour evening study hall and had no tests. I feel I learned a lot in my course. I really enjoyed my experience at C.T.Y. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn over the summer but doesn't want to attend anything like summer school. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.