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Release: Immediate

Iowa junior high school children study leadership in select UI program

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A group of 40 Iowa junior high and middle school students will spend two weeks at the University of Iowa learning how to be leaders as part of a select program for gifted and talented students July 6-18.

The students will be attending the Iowa Governor's Summer Institute for the Gifted and Talented (IGI), conducted by the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development of the UI College of Education.

For the first time in the program's history, students will explore what it means to be a leader, how they can develop leadership skills and other issues surrounding leadership. The program is designed to provide exceptionally talented students with an intensive and advanced educational experience to enhance intellectual and social growth.

As part of their application for the Governor's Institute, students had to submit essays describing what leadership means to them and had to be nominated by members of their schools and their communities.

Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Belin-Blank Center, says attributes such as leadership are often overlooked when it comes to traditional definitions of "gifted and talented" students.

"There are a lot of ways to be gifted," Colangelo says. "And a lot of them can't be measured on a paper and pencil test. Leadership is one of those qualities that we recognize as an important part of future success for children and for society, but children don't often get a chance to focus their intellectual energy on developing their leadership skills."

All Iowa seventh- and eighth-graders enrolled in public or approved private junior high and middle schools are eligible to participate in IGI. Participants are chosen by a committee of UI faculty, Iowa educators, and community leaders.

Each student receives a Governor's Scholarship to cover the cost of the program.


Editors: Contact Jan Warren, precollege program coordinator, at (319) 335-6148, to arrange interviews or to pursue photo possibilities with students attending the Belin-Blank Center's summer programs.