I found the TIP program after hunting around for something academic for him, as he prepares to enter high school. The TIP program requires some minimum SAT scores, and offers a great array of classes to choose from like Spy Cryptology and a “Bach to Rock” music history class. Cade chose Algebra II, the only real heavy academic class. I tried to get him to take something fun, but I think he was more comfortable with math, and he wanted to breeze through his math class freshman year.
Three weeks away from home was going to be the longest he’d ever been away, and we were worried about him missing some baseball. In the end, Janet and I felt like the opportunity to participate in an academic all-star camp like this couldn’t be missed, and we shipped him off to Duke for 3 weeks.
I was lucky enough to go pick him up from Duke, and it was amazing as he walked me around his dorm and the campus to learn what an incredible time he had. I think he learned a lot in his class (7 hours a day of math, plus Saturdays, and squeezing the whole school year into 3 weeks will do that), but I was much more interested in how he spoke about the other kids there that he met. He loved the intellectual stimulation of their after dinner talks about philosophy or macro-economics, and the free time ultimate frisbee games. I got to meet his roommate David, from Atlanta, who took the music history course, and it seemed like he and Cade created a strong friendship based on their good-bye embrace which was really touching.
The biggest measure of success is his desire to go back next year, and the planning that he and the others have already made to stay in the same dorms and stay in touch through Facebook or other ways. I feel so lucky to have found this program for him, and that he got so much out of it. I’d highly recommend the program to anyone who can participate.