Some students dread the idea of math class, but that isn’t the case when it comes to local student Connor Yost (Hartop), who was recently named one of brightest middle school students in the world by John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY).
According to the CTY, as well as test scores to back up the statement, Yost, a middle school student at Portsmouth STEM Academy, scored in the 99th percentile on a rigorous, above-grade level mathematics test. He was even rewarded for this achievement at a ceremony sponsored by John Hopkins CTY.
This is no easy task to accomplish, according to CTY. Students from more than 65 countries participated in the CTY Talent Search and only the top performing students were honored.
“We congratulate all of our CTY Talent Search honorees for their hard work and academic achievement,” said Elaine Tuttle Hansen, executive director of CTY. “This is a moment not just to celebrate our students, but to honor the parents and educators who recognized their academic talent and provided them with opportunities to develop it.”
Yost is thriving at Portsmouth STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Academy, where he is one of the school’s earliest students. He now takes many of his classes as a postsecondary student of Shawnee State University as well.
“We are not surprised by Connor’s prestigious award. He is a sponge when it comes to Math concepts,” Portsmouth STEM Academy Head Teacher Megan Warnock explained. “His Math skills are impressive! In his spare moments at school, he asks Mr. Warnock to give him a challenge question or watches a Math video.”
Yost said that his family drove him to Charleston, West Virginia for the test, where he said he took it on a computer and wasn’t told of his scores until later.
“I was surprised I did so well. I was happy and honored,” Yost humbly explained.
While he enjoys downtime with his family and friends, Yost often thinks of the future, particularly his future place in a field he loves. The young student says that he would like to pursue degrees in three subjects, math, chemistry, and astronomy.
“As a mom, I knew he was really talented in math – he had an innate understanding of numbers from the time he could talk. It was kind of amazing, and he was constantly pushing for harder stuff like it was a game. But to see him score like this on an international level, I really never imagined,” Mother Francesca Hartop said. “I figured he would do well, but not nail it like this. I am so proud of him. I also love the fact that he is otherwise so normal, well-rounded, and a really good big brother and friend. The ability for him to start early at Shawnee State University, taking on that level of responsibility and self-direction, along with other Portsmouth STEM Academy students, is a great opportunity for him. I am very grateful for this incredible partnership between SSU, Portsmouth STEM Academy, and the State of Ohio – not to mention the fabulous teachers and mentors he has in his life!”
Joseph Pratt is a contributor to Portsmouth Daily Times. He may be reached at [email protected]