EA seventh grader scores big on ACT

Published 3:02 am Tuesday, May 30, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
Escambia Academy seventh grader Bailey Vaughn was no stranger to standardized testing. She had been taking the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) since kindergarten at Temple Christian Academy.
So when she walked into a classroom at Jefferson Davis Community College, on her 13th birthday, full of more than 50 high school juniors and seniors, to take the ACT, the young middle school student was not intimidated.
Vaughn actually intimidated the high school students when they found out her age and that she scored as high or higher than them on the SAT.
Vaughn's name was submitted to the Duke University Talent Identification Program by her school, Escambia Academy, based on her post high school scores on the SAT as a sixth grader at Temple.
"The students are selected based on their scores from their 6th grade Stanford Achievement Test," Vaughn's mother Cyndi Vaughn said. "I do know that Amber Huskey &Nick Flowers, who are in the same class as Bailey, were also eligible, but I don't think either one of them took the ACT. She was the only kid that wasn't a eleventh or twelve grader. It was pretty funny to see the looks on those older kids' faces when they saw her."
Vaughn said that she wasn't really nervous about taking the ACT with a group of older students. She was more concerned about having to get up early on a Saturday, not to mention that it was not just any old Saturday, but her 13th birthday.
"I had to get up at like 6 a.m. to get ready," Vaughn said. "It was my birthday of all days and I had to hurry because the test started early. My mom stayed with me and got me registered at Jeff Davis in Brewton. All the seniors kept looking at me and finally during our first break a group of about six seniors' came up to me and asked me what grade I was in. They were shocked when I told them the seventh. They immediately wanted to know what school I went too. They were all really nice to me. The test was basically just like the SAT, just I didn't know a lot of it. I did a lot of guessing."
Vaughn just thought she didn't know some of the material covered on the ACT. Her score told a different story.
"It took a month or two to get the scores back," Vaughn said. "I wanted to get it so bad and then when it came I was so nervous. When I saw the score I was thinking it was 20 out of a 100 and it was bad. Then my dad looked at and said 'Wow, that's good'. He told me that I scored 20 out of 36. My dad scored a 20 when he was a senior in high school. I thought it was pretty cool that I scored the same as my dad."
Cool indeed. Vaughn's composite ACT score of 20 earned her a spot in the State of Florida's Recognition Ceremony honoring Mathematically and verbally talented seventh graders conducted by the Duke University Talent Identification Program.
The ACT is one way to estimate a student's level of educational development. Ranks are used to show how the scores compare with those of recent high school graduates who took the ACT while in high school. Vaughn scored 21 in English, 17 in Mathematics, 22 in Reading and 19 in Science with an overall composite score of 20.
In the 2006 Duke talent search, a total of 22,342 students from the program's 16-state region scored well enough to be invited to a State Recognition ceremony. Vaughn was one of 2,822 students in Florida, out of 9,215 who tested that qualified for the State Recognition.
"I was excited when I found out that I qualified for state," Vaughn said. "Then all of the sudden I started getting all of these letters and brochures in the mail for camps. It got a little overwhelming. We haven't talked much about the camps though; I may eventually go to one. But I did get to miss school for two and a half days. That was a definite plus. The ceremony was really long – three hours. They recognized more than 400 students where we each got our medal and certificate and then they had speakers."
Vaughn was also recognized at the Academy during awards' day. Patty Castleberry, who is responsible for submitting Vaughn's name for Duke's consideration, shared with the student body and parents Vaughn's SAT and ACT scores that earned her this honor.
Vaughn still has plenty of time to prepare for her future, but she feels better prepared for the test when she becomes a senior and has to take it again.
"Now I practically know what is on the ACT," Vaughn said. "It will help me a lot to prepare for it when I am a senior taking the ACT. I know the answers now and know the basics of what they ask even if they change the test each year. I would like to get a full scholarship to Duke, so that I can us my college fund for rent and bills so that I can focus more on studying than working. But I don't know what my daddy's opinion about that is going to be. I'm not positive what I am going to do. I am still trying to figure that one out. I would like to get into modeling, but I have plenty of time to decide."
For now, Vaughn will continue talking on the phone with her friends and going to the movies mixed with a little shopping. Rest assured she will continue to make time for one of her favorite things – reading. She especially likes the Trixie Belden series and no doubt she will continue her reign as an A-B honor roll student, a status she has held since kindergarten. Bailey is the daughter of Greg and Cyndi Vaughn of Bratt, Fla.

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