Wellesley Middle School student Ugur Gurol takes part in many typical activities for a kid his age, from soccer and skiing to science competitions. But at 12 years old this past Spring, Gurol also tossed taking the SATs into the mix — and he put up a math score (760 out of 800) that may high school students would covet.
Earlier this month Gurol was honored in Baltimore by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) for his exceptional test performance as a middle schooler. The CTY Talent Search uses above-grade-level tests to get a clear picture of advanced students’ true academic abilities.
This year, more than 30,648 students in grades 2-8 participated in the Talent Search, representing all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Of this group, 1,175 students scored high enough on their above-grade-level tests to be invited to the ceremony on the Johns Hopkins campus. Gurol was among 507 participants under the age of 13 who achieved a score of 700 or higher on the SAT (in Math), and in turn, qualified for CTY’s Study of Exceptional Talent.
Students honored at the Grand Ceremony qualified for CTY’s residential summer programs, online classes, and family programs.
Gurol’s success in the Talent Search will come as no shock to his teachers or peers in Wellesley. He’s been an advanced student since elementary school, and has what his father calls “almost natural skills in STEM.” Gurol was one of just a few kids entering Wellesley Middle School as a 6th grader who tested into taking 7th grade math. In 7th grade he took 8th grade math and also tested into above-grade math at the Russian School of Math, which is where his family learned about the CTY Talent Search.
Ugur’s father, Dr. Edip Gurol, says his son squeezed in a few SAT prep tests while a 7th grader, but otherwise was busy with his usual courses and extra-curricular activities. Among other things, the WMS student has been part of several state championship Science Olympiad teams.
“Ugur really enjoys being a WMS student in terms of academics, extracurricular activities and his friendships,” the elder Gurol says. “My wife and I are very impressed by the overall quality of Wellesley Public Schools and WMS. They are able to challenge students with different interests and talents through excellent academics and clubs.”