Search Spotlights Bright Kids
bring together top student talent, give them great classes with outstanding
professors, bake it all in the hot Sacramento summer, stand back and look
what you get.
new class on germs and a Japanese language class that was jam-packed due
to the popularity of Japanese animation highlighted the 20th summer of
Academic Talent Search at Sac State.
The program for sixth- through ninth-graders offers accelerated and enrichment
courses all across campus, many of them taught by Sac State faculty.
It was bigger than ever this year, with an enrollment of almost 1,700
and more than 100 classes. Thats compared to the 106 students who
could choose among three classes in 1982, the programs first year.
What we have here is a recipe, says longtime Academic Talent
Search Director Terry Thomas. You bring together top student talent,
give them great classes with outstanding professors, bake it all in the
hot Sacramento summer, stand back and look what you get.
And what you get, he says, are highly motivated students who
have learned to think critically and overwhelmingly choose to attend college.
In fact, 95 percent of the programs alumni have gone on to college.
Almost 30 percent have gone to Sac State.
While the Academic Talent Search experience is only for students
in junior high school, weve found it has long-term, lasting effects,
Many of the 18,500 former students keep in contact with the program, sharing
their successes in college or careers. Some even come back to teach classes
themselves. Among four alumni honored as distinguished alumni at the programs
20th birthday celebration was Jordon Beasley. He graduated in 1999 with
a bachelors degree in politics from Pomona College and is now a
production coordinator with Digital Planet, a webcast production studio.
I remember summer school here was as good as it could getcollege
campus with college classes and college professors, Beasley says.
It was here I learned how to ask questions, and not the questions
people want you to ask, but the questions you need to ask. As far as Im
Academic Talent Search was my academic foundation.
The three others honored as distinguished alumni were Michael Areen, now
a student at Stanford University, Kate McLean, now a student at the University
of San Francisco, and Sherry Mombourquette, a 1998 Sac State graduate
who now covers sports for the
It was Academic Talent Search that gave me the confidence to go
into a field that is still dominated by men, Mombourquette says.
She jokes that the program put her on the right trackshe had once
planned to be a lawyer.
Academic Talent Search began with the goal of offering advanced classes
to high-achieving students who were often becoming bored with school.
For many classesalgebra, Latin and othersstudents can earn
school credit for a summer class that otherwise would have taken a year.
The program has since expanded to include classes in computer science,
foreign languages, psychology and much more. There are classes focused
on making learning fun, such as forensic science and writing short comedies,
as well as personal enrichment classes such as fencing. What all the classes
have in common is the independence and discovery they provide students.
The program has earned support throughout the Capital Region. Among its
many champions is William H. Collard, a local attorney and 1957
Sac State graduate. He and longtime Sac State education professor Rodger
Bishton provided the initial funding for Academic Talent Searchs
merit scholar program.
I just think we are so fortunate that we have the opportunity to
help students with such outstanding abilities, Collard says.
Students planning to attend Academic Talent Search take tests in the spring,
and scores determine which classes they are qualified to take. Classes
this year cost from $85 to $290, and scholarships are available.
Details: (916) 278-7032 or http://edweb.csus.edu/projects/ats.