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ASU's Herberger Young Scholars Academy graduates 13 in inaugural class

Herberger Young Scholars Academy inaugural graduating class
May 26, 2015

J.D. House is 17 years old and already knows calculus and differential equations.  From an early age, House loved math; however, he found that he was not challenged by the offerings of a traditional school. 

“I was often bored in class,” admitted House. “I needed something engaging.”

Seeking a greater challenge, House enrolled in the Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy, a school designed to fulfill the needs for highly gifted students. At Herberger Academy, he finally found the rigorous academic environment he needed to succeed.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of parents, teachers, and academic leaders from Arizona State University joined House and his peers who make up the Herberger Academy’s inaugural graduating class.

Herberger Academy, a private school supported by ASU located on ASU's West Campus, is the result of an initiative by the Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College to provide a highly challenging learning environment for gifted students between grades 7-12. The school exposes students to an accelerated academic program. 

The accelerated program encourages students to complete middle and high school in as few as three years.  Many students choose to continue their studies, taking advanced classes offered under the guidance of the internationally recognized Cambridge curriculum and ASU courses for college credit. Students also have the opportunity to participate in research with an ASU professor.  

House took full advantage of the Herberger Academy’s rigorous coursework and connection to ASU. He earned 40 credit hours for college courses and conducted research designing new ways to improve computer animation techniques.

“I knew I would be able to graduate [from Herberger Academy] with a college experience,” said House. “I appreciated the flexibility to customize my coursework.”

Kimberly Lansdowne, executive director of the Herberger Academy, believes the school fulfills a critical need, challenging the most advanced students.  

“Many of our students will walk into a traditional classroom on day one knowing the entire curriculum,” said Lansdowne. “We provide opportunities so that gifted children can learn at their own pace.”

The school opened with a financial contribution from Gary Herberger and Jeanne Herberger. Gary Herberger was a gifted learner growing up. He recognized the need for academic programs geared towards high-achieving students in Arizona and helped provide the initial support for Herberger Academy.

“The Herbergers saw we hadn’t created a learning environment for gifted students to prosper,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow, speaking at the graduation ceremony. “They saw another way children might be successful.”

Crow and the Herbergers praised the accomplishments and contributions of this group of high-achieving students. Crow also presented two Herberger Academy graduates with the J. Scott Gavin scholarship, a newly established merit award that recognizes students for their outstanding achievements.

House’s passion for math will continue to guide him when he enrolls at ASU in the fall. House plans to study both mathematics and economics as a member of Barrett, the Honors College. After graduating, he hopes he can turn his love for math into a career, eventually becoming a college professor. 

House said the relationship with ASU professors he formed through Herberger Academy inspired him.

“I’m a huge math nerd,” joked House. “I love to teach people math.”