At the Utah Association for Gifted Children Conference held in June, 2015, Teresa Gao was honored with the UAGC Distinguished Student Award. Teresa has been a joy to the teachers of the Provo City School District’s elementary and middle school gifted magnet programs for the past five years. Her drive to learn, her quest for excellence, and her gentle goodness distinguish Teresa Gao as an outstanding student in every sense of the word.
Teresa takes her learning and academic work seriously. Her 5th grade teacher, Cindy Taylor, says that Teresa “always felt a keen responsibility to learn as much as she could, listening and taking careful notes during instruction…. Teresa’s ability to produce great writing was unusual compared to her peers. She displayed artistic talent as well, often illustrating her stories or science notes with accurate, precise and pleasing detail. Versatile and well-rounded, compassionate and friendly are adjectives I would use to describe Teresa. She shared her outstanding musical talent each time we had a talent show. Even though Teresa had all these strengths and talents, she was very humble—usually quiet and demure, but also had a remarkable sense of humor as well. She was a student who not only was a good and kind friend, but always made wise choices and was a good example to all of her classmates.”
Teresa has just completed her 8th grade year in our gifted magnet program housed at Provo High School. Her 7th grade science teacher, Angela Williams says: “Teresa not only caught onto science knowledge but was a conceptual thinker. She would ask questions about applications of the science concepts that were being learned, or apply concepts to real life situations very quickly. When she did projects for class she was not only 100% correct with the knowledge base, but she was also very creative, meticulous and artistic. I still have and use some of her projects as examples for my students. “
Another teacher, Mr. Ty Robinson says of her, “Teresa did everything with tremendous effort and achieved greatness in everything that she undertook. She truly exemplified what a gifted student should be. She demonstrated leadership skills, was a very loyal friend to her peers, and is a very classy young lady. She will always stand out as one of the greatest students that I have ever taught. “
English teacher, Al Ricci, tells us that “Teresa is a very conscientious student. She goes above and beyond in all aspects of her life. She has a sweet personality. She treats everyone with respect. She is a deep thinker and is very insightful.”
Teresa’s drive for excellence extends outside the classroom.
Principal Karen Brown says “Teresa has been an outstanding student and leader. Her activity with our MathCounts team has led them to state competitions for two years running, and they have placed first in the Central Utah division both years as well. Teresa’s positive attitude is contagious. She is a joy and a pleasure to work with.”
Teresa was the 1st place winner at the Provo High School Spelling Bee and the AMC 8 Math Competition this year. She was Senator in the Provo High School Student Government, and Flag Captain of PHS Jr. Color/Winter Guard. She was editor-in-chief of PUP Prints – a newsletter for the gifted middle school students. As an 8th grader, she made it to first viola in the PHS Philharmonic Orchestra without taking any private lessons.
Outside of school, she has been dancing at BYU’s Young DanceMaker company since she was 6 years old. She loves drawing and was a 1st Place winner at the BYU European Art Contest last year. She is a self-taught pianist.
Teresa has been an adopt-a-trail volunteer for more than three years. She’s helped at community events, such as Comcast Day and at Provo City’s Halloween Carnival.
Her parents tell us that “Teresa is always considerate of others and eager to help. Not only does she help with family chores and taking care of younger siblings, but she does house chores without being asked. As parents, we couldn’t ask anything more than that. She is very humble about her achievements and respectful to every person she meets. We are so lucky to have her. “
We are definitely lucky to have Teresa as an exemplary student, leader, artist, musician and friend. We are grateful for her goodness and example, and can’t wait to see what she will do next!