Jake Boils selected to attend WKU’s Gatton Academy

Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:21 am

Jake Boils.psd

Clinton County High School student Jake Boils is among the 96 Kentucky sophomores who were selected for the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science Class of 2021. Jake is only the second student from Clinton County to ever attend Gatton. He is the son of David and Vicky Boils.

The Clinton County News spoke recently with the Clinton County High School sopohmore about this rare and challenging opportunity that he has earned.

“The Gatton Academy is a program through WKU, so I will be staying there my junior and senior years,” Boils said. “I’ll have many different opportunities, for instance, they could have me go abroad too. There are many different things that young scholars can do.”

Boils said he wants to go into the astronomy program and attending the Gatton Academy will be an opportunity to do that.

“I got an email today (Friday) from Derrick Strode, one of the administrators there, and he was talking about the astronomy program, which is something I want to get into,” Boils said. “I can take that in the fall semester and then in January, I can start a research project. I will be doing research in high school through the Gatton Academy.”

Boils said he is excited about finishing high school in the Gatton Academy.

“It’s the biggest opportunity I’ve ever been given,” Boils said. “Later in life I want to become an astrophysicist, study the stars and all that stuff. Through the Gatton Academy, I can pretty much go where ever I want to go to for college since Gatton Academy is one of the top rated high schools in the nation. I’ll have 60 hours of college credit when I graduate, so I will already be ahead of the game and I will have research done as well.”

Boils said his parents are excited on one hand, but don’t want to see him leave.

“They are excited and at the same time they hate to see me leave,” Boils said.

Boils will finish out his sophomore year at Clinton County High School and will make his way to Bowling Green, Kentucky on August 20 for moving day.

“What I assume will happen, because August 20 is a Tuesday, is we will move in the 20th, settle down and classes will start on the next Monday,” Boils said. “The classes are actual college classes. Think of it like here we can take dual credit courses. We take high school classes and get college credit … there I will be taking college classes and getting high school credit as well. While I’m there, I will pretty much be a college student. I will have the same sort of freedoms with the exception that I’m still a minor, but for the most part I will have a lot of freedom. It will be one heck of a change.”

“We are very excited to welcome such a remarkable group of students to the Gatton Class of 2021! These students are coming from all across the Commonwealth to pursue their wide-ranging interests and engage in rigorous scholarship,” said Director of The Gatton Academy, Dr. Lynette Breedlove. “Each year admissions decisions are difficult, as there are more exceptional students interested in STEM topics and advanced learning opportunities than we can serve. We appreciate the hard work in which public schools are engaging to find innovative ways to meet the needs of their students.”

Applicants were evaluated based on ACT/SAT scores, high school grades, awards, extracurricular activities, responses to essay and short answer questions, and letters of recommendation. In addition to these criteria, earlier this month, 189 candidates were invited to interview with WKU faculty members, community leaders from across the Commonwealth, and Gatton Academy alumni.

The selected students scored an average composite of 31.66 on the ACT and 31.18 on the mathematics portion of the exam. The highest possible score is a 36. Both of these scores represent the highest for an incoming class in the school’s history.

“I am thrilled that each one of the 96 students has agreed to be a part of our community for the next two years,” states Assistant Director for Admissions and Public Relations Zack Ryle. “The ability to offer this opportunity to these 96 bright students, which brings The Gatton Academy to our funded capacity, is truly exciting. I look forward to seeing each student grow in immeasurable ways over their next two years and beyond!”

Students from 54 counties represent the Class of 2021. Among those students accepted include the second students accepted in The Gatton Academy’s eleven-year history from the following counties: Clinton, Cumberland, and Powell. All told, The Gatton Academy has had students attend from 117 of the 120 counties in Kentucky.

“This year, we not only saw a high number of total applications started and completed, but we saw students from 85 counties start the application,” states Ryle. “Our goal is always to represent the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky, and I can honestly say that we have never seen a pool of applicants as strong and diverse as the Class of 2021, which consequently has led to one of our strongest classes to date.”

The goal of The Gatton Academy is to enable Kentucky’s exceptional young scientists and mathematicians to learn in an environment that offers advanced educational opportunities, preparing them for leadership roles in Kentucky. Moreover, The Gatton Academy assists in preparing Kentucky to compete in a knowledge-based economy by increasing the number of scientists and engineers who live and work in the state.

“What a pleasure it is to welcome the 2021 class of The Gatton Academy,” stated Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director of The Gatton Academy and Mahurin Professor of Gifted Education. “These young people represent Kentucky geographically as well as in other characteristics, carrying out the goal of The Gatton Academy to enable Kentucky’s exceptional young scientists and mathematicians to learn in an environment that offers advanced educational opportunities and develop as future leaders for the Commonwealth.”

Students will complete their junior and senior years of high school living in Florence Schneider Hall. At the end of their two-year course of study, students will graduate from high school with a minimum of 60 college credit hours.

The Gatton Academy provides a rich living and learning environment designed specifically for academically talented adolescent students that features clubs, organizations and community service. Additionally, students are able to participate in advanced research with WKU faculty members. Research conducted during students’ time at The Gatton Academy has been honored in the nationally competitive Regeneron Science Talent Search, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The majority of Gatton Academy students also participate in a study abroad or global learning experience in locations such as Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, England and China.

The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first state-supported, two-year residential program for high school students with interests in advanced science and math careers and is one of only 15 such programs in the nation. The Gatton Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years.