BOWLING GREEN - The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky has selected 102 Kentucky sophomores for the Class of 2022.

“The Commonwealth is full of outstanding students and we are thrilled to welcome 102 of them to the Gatton Class of 2022. This class, like those who have come before them, is from all across the state and made up of students with wide ranging interests in STEM fields,” said Director of The Gatton Academy, Dr. Lynette Breedlove. “There are always more talented students searching for advanced learning opportunities than we can serve. We recognize that public schools in Kentucky are working hard to find innovative ways to support the needs of all 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 Western Kentucky University faculty members, community leaders from across the Commonwealth, and Gatton Academy alumni.

The selected students scored an average composite of 30.58 on the ACT and 30.23 on the mathematics portion of the exam. The highest possible score is a 36.

“I am thrilled that each one of the 102 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 these 102 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 47 counties represent the Class of 2022. Among those students accepted include either the second or third students accepted in The Gatton Academy’s 13-year history from the following counties: Clay, Floyd, Green, Hickman, Jackson, Menifee, Metcalfe, Rockcastle, and Webster.  All told, The Gatton Academy has had students attend from 117 of the 120 counties in Kentucky.

“This year, we not only saw a strong number of total applications started and completed, but we saw students from 81 counties start the application,” states Ryle. “Our goal is always to represent the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky, and this class certainly is strong and diverse. From McCracken and Hickman counties in the west to Pike County in the east, we have students from all throughout the Commonwealth. In the last six years, I can honestly say that this is one of our strongest and most diverse classes.”

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 2022 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 and England.

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 Jay Mathews of The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for ten consecutive appearances.

Local students selected for The Gatton Academy’s Class of 2022 are Apirada Chetawatee from Murray High School and the daughter of Mayuree and Apichai Chetawatee of Murray and Chaney Robinson from Calloway County High School and the daughter of Brad and Deanna Robinson of Murray.