MCHS Student Selected for the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky has selected 95 Kentucky sophomores for the Class of 2019. Matt Knerr has been selected from McCracken County High School.
“We are excited to welcome the Class of 2019, an exceptional and diverse group of young people,” said Dr. Lynette Breedlove, Director of The Gatton Academy. “Each year our admissions process reveals a remarkable number of outstanding Kentucky students seeking to challenge themselves in the STEM fields. Admissions decisions were as difficult this year as any. There are simply more qualified students than we can accommodate. This large class will bring The Gatton Academy to one student beyond its funded capacity of 191 students.”
Applicants were evaluated based on ACT/SAT scores, high school grades, awards, extracurricular activities, responses to essay and short answer questions, and letters of recommendation. In addition to these criteria, earlier this month, 185 candidates were invited to interview with WKU faculty members, community leaders from across the Commonwealth, and Gatton Academy alumni.
The selected students scored an average composite of 30.29 on the ACT and 29.98 on the mathematics portion of the exam. The highest possible score is a 36.
“The ability to accept 95 students this year, which will bring us past our funded capacity for the first time, is an incredible moment for not only our school, but the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Assistant Director for Admissions and Public Relations Zack Ryle. “The ability to offer this opportunity to more bright, young high school students interested in STEM is truly exciting. I am thrilled that each one of the 95 students has agreed to be a part of our community for the next two years.”
Students from 50 counties represent the Class of 2019. Magoffin County will have a student attend The Gatton Academy for the first time, while the following counties had a second student admitted in The Gatton Academy’s 10-year history: Clay, Knott and Rockcastle. The Gatton Academy has had students attend from 116 of the 120 counties in Kentucky.
“When selecting each class, our goal is to represent the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Ryle said. “This year, we saw not only a record of total applications started and completed, but we saw students from 88 counties started the application, another high mark for The Gatton Academy. In our history, we have never seen a pool of applicants as strong and diverse as the Class of 2019, which consequently has led to one of our strongest classes to date.”
The goal of The Gatton Academy is to enable Kentucky’s exceptional young scientists and mathematicians to learn in an environment that offers advanced educational opportunities, preparing them for leadership roles in Kentucky. Moreover, The Gatton Academy assists in preparing Kentucky to compete in a knowledge-based economy by increasing the number of scientists and engineers who live and work in the state.
“What an honor it is to welcome The Gatton Academy’s Class of 2019! These 95 high school sophomores with advanced ability and high interest in the STEM fields come from across Kentucky and are a great representation of the state,” said Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director of The Gatton Academy. “The Gatton Academy’s goal from day one was to partner with all school districts in the Commonwealth so students would have more advanced opportunities, and with this class, we have had a student accepted from 96 percent of the counties in the state.”
Students will complete their junior and senior years of high school living in newly expanded Florence Schneider Hall. At the end of their two-year course of study, students will graduate from high school with a minimum of 60 college credit hours.
The Gatton Academy provides a rich living and learning environment designed specifically for academically talented adolescent students that features clubs, organizations and community service. Additionally, students are able to participate in advanced research with WKU faculty members. Research conducted during students’ time at The Gatton Academy has been honored in the nationally competitive Siemens Competition, Intel Science Talent Search, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, and the Department of Defense Science, Math, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship Program. The majority of Gatton Academy students also participate in a study abroad or global learning experience in locations such as Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, England and China.
The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first state-supported, residential program for high school students with interests in advanced science and math careers and one of only 15 such programs in the nation. The Gatton Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for eight consecutive years.