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Looking for the brightest

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John Young

Student Profile January

The stories of economically disadvantaged African-American and Latino children who fall by the wayside-both in school and in life-are all too familiar. But what about those students who beat the odds? What can we learn from the stories of academically gifted students from such backgrounds who, through natural talent, hard work and the right kind of nurturance go on to achieve success?

John Young, a doctoral student in TC's Gifted Education program, is beginning his dissertation work on what he calls "a qualitative ethnography" to answer those questions.

Young's own direct experience with Gifted Education began after he had received a master's degree in education from Emory University. He then worked with Howard University on a Department of Defense grant aimed at identifying and supporting gifted children. From there, he began a career in public education, teaching for a decade in the Washington D.C. school system. While there, he received numerous accolades, including being twice named a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year Award, but says what he enjoyed most was improving the lives of individual students.

"You can't reach every child," he says, "but reaching even one is doing a great a service to not only the school, but to the community at large."

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