Screams of elation and eruptions of laughter and cheering blowing up into the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY) part of the Stanford University campus never subsided. Even at night they would be associated with whispering trills of happiness. Several people around the world can associate the word FUN with many meanings and interpret the word in many perspectives. For some teenagers it means paralyzing their hands on the computer while spending several hours on social networking sites. Others may insight the word on performing customs, traditional values, and spreading religion. For myself I believed that the CTY program’s residential experience in Stanford University was the craziest experience I have ever had yet.
Benjamin Liu, sixth grader at Dana Middle School
Stanford University; Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth: Part 2 of 2: It’s Not About School… – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – by Benjamin Liu sixth grader at Dana Middle School – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Every part of the fun experience was organized by the residential assistants themselves who took their efforts to socialize with the students, organize weekday and weekend activities, ensure safety in dorms and halls, and make sure we had a great time. Weekday activities sometimes would mean diving into icy dark pools and take our risks to fight with water noodles, maneuvering through obstacles in competitive sports, shrouding ourselves in the relaxing shade and reading books, etc. Weekend events were somewhat similar; for example, sometimes we would compete in skills of athletic and knowledge abilities in all-out program scavenger or number hunts. Events surprisingly gave all students bright opportunities in being involved with knowledge and athletic talents in insane skills and high expectations. The real action occurred away from the grassy fields of crushed grass blades, the entertainment and fun happened in the mental connection the students had with each other. Each dispute and problem we challenged while getting along resulted in a stronger friendship. More curious hands reached out to others each day.
CTY was an “unpredictable spider web” as some could say, in which the students would slowly develop links and intrigue others with acts of cordial kindness and sportsmanlike attitude. The lines would cross over other lines and eventually resemble thousands of lines intersecting over and under one another; diagonal, vertical, and horizontal of one another everywhere. It was a twisting and winding path of friendships and connections that stretched onward forever until it reached out to another possible friendship.
My residential group of students made up of a group of 10 boys half from the courses, Writing and Imagination & Model United Nations and Advanced Geography; which in my opinion resembled a group of persistent and morale. We initially had biased opinions on each other, and problems and disputes would fall apart. No matter how foreign or separated we were from each other, amazingly we each had each other’s back. Memories would batter into my mind about days students challenged one of our own; we got hit into minor speed bumps, but no student would physically or mentally hurt one of our own, without receiving the insidious and regretful thought aching mercilessly in his heart. “Your morality is strong,” my RA would always say to me, “What is right or wrong to you?” I would sometimes think to myself after the remembrance of his statement.” Our understanding in academics was not the only skill strengthened after the program, but it was of our skills in morality and life. We learned to inherit cordial and sharp minded personalities from one another and learn simple problem-solving skills and effective socializing and friendly skills that would certainly follow us into death. Opportunities of lifetimes were given; we would never perhaps in a whole childhood have been able to interact with talented students away from public and private schools and come this close to friendships that lasted into our dreams and buzzed in our thoughts repeatedly. My physical features had substantially changed on my journey back home, but my heart was surprisingly different color. My eyes seemed to look at everything with widened fascination.
My personality was shaped into something else even greater after that experience. Something I will never be able to explain.