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Dylan Claiborne, ACMS 8th grader, studying at Texas A & M

A super-bright Adair County kid's success was aided by family--plus friends like Dr. Phil Aaron, who encouraged him to read and succeed, and a special Gifted and Talented director at ACMS, Charlene Bell, who recognized his extraordinary abilities. This summer, Dylan Claiborne, 13, is winning Robotics contests at Texas A &M, where he's taking the equivalent of a year of high school, a semester of college, in three weeks!

By Ed Waggener

Dylan Claiborne, the son of Kevin and Shamarie Claiborne of Columbia is just 13 years old, but he's already studying in college.

The Adair County Middle School soon-to-be eighth grader received a $2,000 scholarship. He is now enrolled, along with approximately 320 of the nation's brightest students, who were identified in Duke University's TIP (Talent Identification Program), in summer courses at Duke, Kansas State, and Texas A & M universities.

Dylan is taking part in a special academic program at Texas A & M University in College Station, TX.

This summer, Dylan is taking a course in Engineering and Robotics. "He wants to be an engineer someday," his mother said. Dylan excels in robotics. Already, at Texas A & M, he's won the first of two robotic contests. The second one is today, Tuesday, June 26, told his mother last night. Originally, the instructor had scheduled the second contest on Friday, but the class moved so quickly through the course the instructor changed the syllabus, and has added a bridge-building event on Friday, the last day of the course.

The three week term at Texas A&M is designed to let seventh graders participate in a fast-paced, intensive curriculum, which emphasizes "critical thinking, problem-solving, and higher order thinking," according to a Duke U TIP statement. The statement adds, "Courses cover the equivalent of a year of high school or a semester of college level work and are developed to utilize the expertise of the host site."

The students go to classes for seven hours each weekday, plus an hour each evening, and then three hours on Saturday. At Texas A & M, Dylan is considered a seventh grader, and his classmates are seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th graders.

Dylan won't get Adair County High School or college credit for the work. Some of his classmates will get secondary school credit, but it isn't available here. She's hoping that will change one day.

Dylan is more than an especially bright kid. He's been fortunate to have a family which has encouraged learning, a school where the Gifted and Talented program recognized his brilliance, and special friends, like Columbia Physician Dr. Phil Aaron, who took a special interest in the precocious youngster. "Dr. Phil deserves special thanks," Dylan's mother says. "During Dylan's third grade year he helped him learn to read and encouraged him to succeed."

But probably the biggest influence has been Dylan's grandfather, retired Columbia Utilities Commission General Manager Jimmy Harper, whom Dylan refers to as "Pa." Pa takes Dylan everywhere. Once, when Dylan was excited about the Space Center, Pa told him, "We'll just go," and they did. It was a trip Dylan will always remember. In fact, Pa is Dylan and brother Dusty's best buddy. "They do everything together," Mrs. Claiborne said. "Go on trips. Watch educational Tv. You name it."

Mrs. Claiborne is also thankful to Charlene Bell, Director of the Gifted and Talented Program at Adair County Middle School, who encouraged Dylan to qualify for the advanced training in Duke University's Talent Identification Program. He had to take the SAT and ACT test as a seventh grader, which he did, earning qualifying scores that are well above the average scores earned by college-bound high school seniors. Dylan excelled, scoring 21 in Reading on the ACT.

Dylan had been identified as gifted and talented in three areas: Social studies, science and reading.

Mrs. Claiborne attributes the reading skills for much of his accomplishments. She sees that as basic. Dylan reads voraciously. "He loves to read," Mrs. Claiborne said, adding that Dylan had over 350 AR (Advanced Reading) points at Adair County Middle School this year.

But he's plenty active and is socially adept as well as being a super-smart young man. He likes to hang out with his friends, Logan and Chance. Their favorite activity: Paintball, a sport which combines athletic skills with cunning and strategy. Like many kids today, Dylan is on familiar grounds with the Internet. "He loves to play World of Warcraft online," Mrs. Claiborne says.

And like most other boys his age, his very favorite activity is hanging out with his Dad, especially going online on e-Bay and YouTube with him. For the Claiborne's, the web is so familiar it is just another appliance in the house. Mrs. Claiborne was one of the first internet website designers, and is still considered tops in her field, even while she is pre-occupied earning a Masters at WKU on the main campus at Bowling Green.

Dylan's grandparents are Jimmy and Patricia Harper and Archie Claiborne and Lois Claiborne.

This story was posted on 2007-06-26 08:15:08
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Dylan Claiborne at Texas A & M

2007-06-26 - Columbia, KY - Photo By Sha. Adair County Seventh Grader Dylan Claiborne is studying at Texas A & M this summer.
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