The old saying about musicians getting to Carnegie Hall is with "practice, practice, practice."
For top students at Ignacio Middle School, a test preparation class might be part of their academic success.
Forty-one students are taking the PSAT class this year, its fourth year of being offered. During the first year, 15 students participated. The class is taught by Michelle Brown.
Is the extra work paying off?
This spring, the school sent five students to the Colorado State Science Fair, as well as one girl to the Colorado State spelling bee. A whopping 11 students from IMS will attend Colorado History Day in early May, along with one from Ignacio High School.
Amanda Henderson participated in the state spelling bee on March 11 at the University of Denver, calling the experience "really fun." While she didn't advance past the written round, she's hoping to take the school title again next year and return to the state bee, this time as an experienced competitor. She also is attending the upcoming history fair, with her project examining the Ukrainian genocide. Her sponsor for the spelling competition is Jennifer Boniface.
Matthew Belleau said he received positive judges' feedback at state for his science fair project on psychology and social conformity. His project studied peer pressure in modern-day society. His history project is a film about Winston Churchill, garnering first place in the documentary category at regionals.
Kendall Kaer scored another first-place in the regional history competition with his examination of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who served as a combat medic in World War II and won the Medal of Honor.
History Day participants are Shelcie Gosney, Vanessa Gonzales, Destin Tuck, Keona Whitey, Faye Hacket, Chayton Wells, John Riepel and Jeffery Brittain, along with Kaer, Belleau and Henderson. Sponsors are Heidi Belleau and Marissa Duffey.
The five competitors at the state science fair were Abigail Barthel, Jeffrey Boniface, Teagan Roukema, James Mars and Belleau. Noelle Sitton and Karly Pollock were the alternates. Their sponsors are Tom Rohde and Joe Duffy.
The PSAT class focuses on academic enrichment and test strategies, said IMS Principal Chris deKay. Students take the actual PSAT test their sophomore year, after several practice versions during the class.
"These are kids who have a vision," and they realize the class can help better prepare them for the test, and subsequently, college.
Jackie Carillo said she will be the second person in her family to attend college, after her sister, Mia, and she wants to be as prepared as she can for the endeavor. The class requires "lots of effort," she said, but she thinks it will serve her well when she attends college, then she plans to run her own business.