The pandemic cancelled all types of events, gatherings, and ceremonies through 2020, to the chagrin of sports fans, graduates, and anyone else who was expecting to attend an important event. The same held true for 14-year old Patrick Badere, now a Granada Hills Charter freshman STEM student. Patrick took the eligibility test in August of 2019 for Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth SET Program at just 12-years old, while still in middle school.
The Study of Exceptional Talent (SET) provides direct services, free of charge, to students who meet eligibility requirements. Members receive benefits that include free educational counseling from a SET counselor, a subscription to the SET pre-college newsletter, opportunities to connect with other SET members, and supplemental letters of recommendation for college applications. Additionally, members get recognized in an annual Grand Honors Ceremony, typically held at Shriver Hall on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University. Qualified students and their families fly in from all over the world just to be able to attend.
Patrick’s parents are so proud of their GHCHS Highlander for the honor. The whole family planned to fly out to Maryland to take part in the 2020 ceremony. But as the pandemic dragged on, by the last quarter of 2020, any hopes that the ceremony would materialize, died off. Nevertheless, Patrick’s parents remained grateful. “No hard work is ever left unrecognized even though it comes through a different form and many years later, one way or another,” they said. And that is precisely what happened when Patrick received his medal in the mail from CTY.
Eligibility requires a candidate take the SAT before the age of 13 and score at least 700 or higher on either the Math or Verbal sections. From July of 2019 through June of 2020, more than 15,000 students from all over the world took the exam. Only 1,400 were top percentage scorers, of which only 160 became SET members, including Patrick, who was inducted this year.
Despite the lack of ceremonial recognition, the Highlander remains happy to be a part of the exclusive group and continues to be mindful of the fact that an organization such as CTY provides such important services that it does to SET members. If you ask him if it was worth the additional time and effort he dedicated to take the eligibility test, he will immediately tell you, “Yes absolutely, without question. It might have eaten up a little time away from extra-curricular activities and gaming time fun back then, but it will help me prepare for college in the future and that is very important, ceremony or not. It was a little frustrating not be able to make it into the ceremony 2 years in a row, but I’m not letting this Pandemic beat down the honors.”
"This is especially commendable in a year that has been difficult for students everywhere. The global pandemic has affected nearly every part of your lives, from daily school routines to the special celebrations you look forward to all year. Nonetheless, you have demonstrated outstanding academic potential, and we hope you and your family will take the time to celebrate it together," said Dr. Virginia Roach, CTY's Executive Director. "In times like these, we are reminded that the world needs leaders, educators, health care providers, artists, creators, and problem solvers, and we hope you will use your talents to find success in college and your career, serve your community, and cultivate a love of learning that will last a lifetime."
Although the COVID-19 pandemic affected many of the ceremonial activities that usually take place, Patrick’s hard work was not left unrecognized. He received his medal in the mail and his parents are beyond proud of their son for this recognition. Patrick is elated to be a part of SET and continues to be mindful of the fact that an organization such as this provides such important services to young students.