Three accepted to The Gatton Academy

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By Kacie Goode

Two Bardstown High School students and one Bethlehem High School student will be heading off to “college” a little early as the three teens were recently accepted to The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science.

The residential program for gifted high school students is housed on the campus of Western Kentucky University and allows students to take college classes, earn a minimum of 60 college credit hours, engage in research and provides other educational opportunities. The academy is reserved for students who have demonstrated an interest in science, technology, engineering and math. To qualify for admission to The Gatton Academy, applicants must meet certain academic requirements as well as complete a rigorous application process.

Representing Bardstown High School at Gatton will be Annabelle Roberts-Nault, the daughter of Heather and Christopher Roberts-Nault, and Joseph Lyvers, the son of Charlotte and Roger Lyvers. From Bethlehem High School is William Fowler III, son of Jerry and Bobbi Fowler.

The three students, who are finishing their sophomore years, will spend their last two years of high school living on WKU’s campus, taking part in unique learning experiences as well as developing an early feel for college life.

Each of the students has an interest in a science or math-related career, which is why they chose to apply to the academy.

“This is a dream opportunity,” said Roberts-Nault.

As a Science Olympiad, she has previously coordinated a science night for primary school students.

“I’ve always been obsessed with science and space,” she said, and the academy will afford her opportunities to explore those interests further.

Roberts-Nault referenced entry into the academy as a “one-in-a-million shot,” because there are so many qualified applicants.

“I’m just so excited to have this opportunity to go,” she said.

While nervous about living away from home, she is looking forward to more challenging classes and making new friends. She will also be involved in a Russian language course while at the academy.

“Since I am so interested in space and I want to work for the space program, Russian is important for that,” she said.

Lyvers — who is involved in the Academic Team, String Orchestra, Science Olympiads and Young Republicans —is considering a career in chemical engineering.

“I applied because I thought it was a good opportunity to really learn and push myself with more advanced and more challenging classes,” Lyvers said. “And also to get a taste of more responsibility and independence.”

Like Roberts-Nault, Lyvers will also be exploring a STEM + language course in Chinese, but he is especially looking forward to the research opportunities in which Gatton students can take part.

For Fowler, the decision to apply came, in part, because of the curriculum Gatton offers.

“I have a strong desire to pursue rigorous math and science courses, and Gatton offers those opportunities,” Fowler said. “Additionally, Gatton’s elective course structure will allow me the unique opportunity to study business and economics, subjects in which I have a particular interest.”

He plans to enroll in a highly-ranked national college or university to pursue a degree in math and economics or business analytics and believes his participation in Gatton will make him a stronger candidate.

Fowler would like to eventually work in a government capacity as an economics advisor, policymaker or in private business.

Fowler is a member of the track and field team, Academic Team, Biology Club, Green Dot and Spanish National Honor Society, serves as a Bethlehem student ambassador and Eucharistic minister, and is a volunteer with Working the Puzzle for Autism.

Roberts-Nault, Lyvers and Fowler are among 96 students selected this year for Gatton’s class of 2021.

“These students are coming from all across the commonwealth to pursue their wide-ranging interests and engage in rigorous scholarship,” said Dr. Lynette Breedlove, director of the academy, in a press release. “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. After the initial applications were received, 189 candidates were invited for interviews.

Attendees’ tuition, room and board are covered, and the students will still be allowed to take part in hometown graduation ceremonies their senior year.

To learn more about the academy, visit wku.edu/academy.