BOWLING GREEN—When the news arrived that Andrea Korte and Gabriel Maier were selected for the Missouri Scholars Academy, the two students were in their study hall. The call for the two students to report to the Gifted Program classroom came over the school’s public address system.
Andrea had received an email that gave her the heads-up about why they were being called. Gabriel said he didn’t see the email and was worried the whole walk there that they were being called in to learn that the high school’s Gifted Program was going to be canceled. It wasn’t canceled. In fact, when they arrived, their Gifted Program teacher, Alison Frederickson, and her husband, Superintendent Matt Frederickson, were there to greet them with the good news about their acceptance into the academy.
Andrea said she thought Gabriel had received the same email, and didn’t know how stressed he was about it.
“I was really excited to see that email,” she said, “because I know a lot of students don’t get in there.”
According to the University of Missouri, the “Missouri Scholars Academy is a three-week residential program for 330 of Missouri’s academically gifted students who are ready to begin their junior year of high school. The academy is held each June on the campus of the University of Missouri and administered by the University of Missouri Honors College.
“The Academy reflects Missouri’s desire to strive for excellence in education at all levels. The program is based on the premise that Missouri’s gifted youth must be provided with special opportunities for learning and personal development in order for them to realize their full potential.”
Matt said it had been many years since the school has had two students accepted into the academy, which has been around since 1985.
Gabriel said he was excited to learn he had been accepted. His mother teaches at the elementary school and his father is a long-haul trucker. The entire family, he added, are voracious readers.
The two learned about the academy from Alison and started their application process last November.
“She (Mrs. Frederickson) said she really liked the program and thought I’d be a good candidate for it,” Gabriel said. He actually submitted his application in January.
Part of the application process is being recommended for the academy by one’s school Gifted Program coordinator or principle or superintendent. Andrea said a community member needed to provide a recommendation letter, as well. Then the two sent their academic records. Gabriel said he believes that applicants need higher than a 3.5 cumulative GPA to be accepted.
The students must have few to no behavioral problems, as well, Gabriel said.
Andrea said that Alison also recommended she apply for the academy.
They had to submit two essays as part of the application process. One asked if the applicant could travel either backward or forward in time where would he or she go, what would he or she hope to learn and how would he or she make the world a better place—all pretty intense stuff for sophomores.
And, Andrea said, you had to get all that into a 200-word essay.
“I was expecting at least 500,” she said.
Gabriel decided he would travel forward to the next century. He’s noticed a decline in morals and thought by that time he could make a difference to reverse that decline.
Even though the academy is a residential program, because of COVID, Andrea and Gabriel would not be staying on the MU campus. All the classes would be done virtually using Zoom.
Andrea said that news was disappointing because part of the whole learning experience was for the students to be on the university’s campus.
“It will still be cool—virtually,” she added.
The students get to pick the classes they want to attend. Each is 2-hours a day, either in the morning or the afternoon, Andrea explained. She hasn’t picked her classes yet, but saw a few that looked interesting.
She thought the classes for social psychology and intro to philosophy, as well as one called “The End of the World,” were interesting. There are classes about music and other things that students might be interested in, she said.
Gabriel has long thought about his academic and career path. Ever since he was in elementary school, he said, he’s wanted to be a teacher.
“I want to get a degree in teaching with a minor in English language arts,” he said. With that degree, he added, he’d like to return to Bowling Green and teach at the high school.
Once he achieves that goal, Gabriel said, in his free time he’d like to write books.
“I want to make it so people want to read,” he said. “The best way to do that is write good stories.” He’s always been a big reader. Lots of times at school, he would be reading and his friends would ask if the book was required for a class. He said, “No, I just liked to read.”
His friends nicknamed him “Watch Out,” because he was always running into things while walking and reading.
Andrea said she is interested in pursuing a career in dentistry when she gets to college.