Students coloring at a table.Gifted and Talented students in Perry County will be taking center stage at a first-ever banquet that will focus on their unique talents on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at the Perry County Central High School auditorium.

The intent is to showcase gifted and talented students and highlight what makes them stand out.

“The Perry County Gifted and Talented (GT) Program is striving to develop environmental and instructional activities that encourage gifted students to express themselves creatively, academically and socially based on each student’s unique gifts and talents,” said Asheley Hoskins, the Gifted and Talented teacher. “We feel that building an effective advocacy program with administrators, parents, teachers and community is vital in ensuring that our gifted students receive equitable and challenging experiences which will translate into future successes in all areas of their lives.”

This event is aimed at affording the gifted and talented students the same opportunity to be recognized in their areas of talents as are students in other groups, such as athletic, special education and minority groups, explained Kristie Gorman, assistant superintendent of the Perry County Schools. Students attending the banquet will be acknowledged for their individual talents in such areas as leadership, visual arts and performing arts.

The goal is to make them “feel unique and recognize that unique talent,” Gorman said.

There are approximately 650 students in the gifted and talented programs in the Perry County School District. The focus of the banquet will be on 250 to 300 students in grades 4 to 12 in the eight schools.

The banquet, hosted by the Gifted and Talented Program, will last approximately eight hours, beginning at noon, with the spotlight on students from each school for one hour. The students have been sent formal invitations to the banquet. The students can invite parents to attend to celebrate their accomplishments.

Students are being encouraged to display works of art, creations, inventions or any type of work sample they are proud of, said Hoskins. Each student will receive a certificate, a gifted and talented lapel pen and t-shirt. There will even be special photo opportunities.

“Students will be publicly recognized regarding their areas of giftedness and talents, hobbies and goals,” explained Hoskins. “Each student will have a special bio written about them” that will be read aloud as they “cross the stage to receive their awards. They will have the opportunity to thank special people who have helped them along on their Gifted and Talented pathway.”

The excitement among the gifted and talented students, families and staff continues to grow as the banquet draws near. Hoskins said she is hearing from students on how proud they are to be part of the program and to be a part of the upcoming event.

“We are recognizing students who don’t normally get recognized,” Hoskins said, adding that they instead are usually “quietly in the background. They deserve it.

“We’re getting such tremendous feedback,” she said. And that feedback is coming from students, parents and teachers. “It’s overwhelming to me.”

She said teachers are saying it is good for these students, who are very excited about the upcoming event. “I can’t even describe the look on their faces,” she added.

Other groups of students, from the athletes to the special education to the students living below poverty, get recognized for achievements, Gorman explained. The school district just wants to make sure that its gifted and talented students also get to have their moment in the limelight. These students are often just “so great,” that sometimes everyone forgets that “they deserve the spotlight” just as much as other students. “We want to make sure they have their time.”