Student Life

Spotlight on: Faith Smith

Mornings spent diving into finance, law, and marketing.  Afternoons passed by on a picturesque quad.  Evenings spent  conversing with talented peers from all over the world.  At the Summer Institute for the Gifted at Vassar College this July, MCHR seventh grader Faith S. spent her days living like a full-fledged college student.  Scoring in the 95th percentile on the nationally-normed STAR assessment, Faith was accepted to the highly selective three-week overnight program, which combines challenging academics with cultural and recreational opportunities.  “I was really excited and proud of myself,” Faith recalled about her performance on the exam. “I didn’t think I would do that well!”

The excitement was coupled with hard work and a bit of anxiety.  On the night before leaving for Poughkeepsie, Faith reflected, “I felt kind of sad, because I’ve never left my parents, and I’ve never been away for that long.”  Once settled in the Vassar dorms, however, any trace of nerves was quickly erased by her rigorous schedule.  After breakfast in the dining hall, Faith would attend courses such as “Taking Stock in Money Matters” and “The People’s Court,” followed by a study tutorial, recreation hour, dorm time, and an evening cultural activity.  “There were a lot of people on my level or above there, and I wanted to be able to have a nice conversation with them and not be left out,” Faith shared about the challenging academic environment.  “My teachers here at MCHR were very helpful in preparing me.”

In the end, the diversity of her peers was most meaningful to Faith, who is still in touch with students from homes as varied as California and South Carolina to Turkey and South Korea.  “My favorite part of the experience was making new friends,” said Faith.  “Now, I’ve had a wider experience than where I’m from.”  The program certainly has Faith actively planning her future. “Since I was there, I decided to do research, and it is very prestigious,” she remarked about Vassar College. “I’m now thinking about applying to Vassar!”