Taking the ACT college entrance exam as a seventh-grader — in a room filled with high school testers — didn’t faze Anthony Thompson in the least.
The Wheat Middle School student has been honored for his performance on the science portion of the ACT through the Duke University Talent Identification Program. His achievement, which led to recognition at the state level, was celebrated by members of the Cleburne ISD board of trustees at their Aug. 17 meeting.
Thompson is among more than 30 Wheat students who were named 2018-19 TIP honorees for placing in the top percentile on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness test. Seventh-graders achieving the TIP distinction are encouraged to explore their academic abilities and talents, as evidenced by their testing performance on state assessments, in undergoing the SAT or ACT, testing at the same sites as their high school peers.
TIP honorees who place in the upper percentile on the college entrance exams are honored in Duke University-sponsored state ceremonies. Thompson participated in the recognition event at Texas Christian University.
“My parents thought I should take the ACT,” Thompson said. “My mom thought it would give me the chance to see where I was on my mind level. I thought it would be cool, and that motivated me. The science part was actually pretty easy, but I didn’t really know about a lot of the math on the test.”
Now an eighth-grade “Wheatie” Thompson said the opportunity to take the ACT as a middle-schooler has indeed given him insight into his academic talents, particularly in the subject of science.
“I think I learned a little more about me, and what I am capable of doing,” he said. “I enjoy school, and, yes, I would say I’m a science geek. I’m interested in robotics, aeronautics, engineering and physics. I like those kind of science-y things. I’ll take a radio controlled car or drone, take it apart and put it back together. I do a lot at home with robotics.”
Wheat robotics teacher Gwenda Davis says it’s very easy to see Thompson choosing a field of engineering as a career.
“Anthony is a very gung ho kid about everything,” Davis said. “He’s very involved in electronics. I can see him going far in the engineering profession. He’s very particular about what he builds and he creates things I’ve never thought of. His engineering skills are already at the college level, in his ability to create and design. He works well with his peers and likes to help and teach others. Anthony has done very well in our school robotics competitions.”
Thompson also uses the right side of his brain, as a musician. He is a two-year member of the Wheat Wind Ensemble and WMS Jazz Band. He plays the saxophone and was selected for the middle school Invitational Honor Band last spring.
“I have always found Anthony to be an intrinsically motivated student,” Wheat band director Faith Massey said. “He seeks opportunities to go above and beyond the daily curriculum and learn more on his own.”
Thompson also competes in football and soccer at Wheat and has been a member of scouting since he was 10. His goal is to achieve the level of Eagle Scout within the next two years.