Ian Stewart is an amazing 13-year-old.
He entered Duke University's Talent Identification Program Seventh Grade Talent Search and was one of the 41 scholarship winners from a field of 63,000.
"I was so excited I had to call my grandparents to tell them," Ian said.
David Krein is the only other winner from Charlotte. The winners are invited to the Grand Recognition Ceremony at Duke on May 23. The scholarship pays for the winner to attend Duke's TIP Camp in the summer.
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Ian is home-schooled. His parents, Brian and Melissa, work very hard to provide Ian and his younger brother, Connor, 8, who is also home-schooled, with a well-rounded education. Melissa does the lion's share of the home teaching, and Brian takes the boys on many field trips.
"I think they've been to every exhibit Discovery Place has had," said Melissa.
The Stewarts comply with the N.C. Homeschool Law, which requires testing and immunizations.
"There are many reasons a family might choose to home-school their children," Melissa said. "A child accelerated in one area, yet slower in another, is easily accommodated in the home. There are health reasons, religious reasons, exercise breaks when wanted or needed, and the hours are extremely flexible."
Ian is in Boy Scout Troop 447, a home-schooling unit. He goes on trips, earns medals and is the junior webmaster.
"I really like hiking and camping," Ian said.
Ian is active in the Church at Charlotte, having appeared in several musicals. He will be in the American College of Musicians Guild Auditions, participating in the Memorized Program with 17 memorized pieces. Ian is also active in Destination ImagiNation, a program designed to encourage participants to use their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving.
Born in Durham, Ian and his family have lived in Pineville 11 years. Ian's favorite subjects are science and math. He enjoys playing Wii and creating games on the computer. He also makes "great chili."
It's fun to follow up on people I've written about. Anthony Gill was going into his sophomore year in high school when I met him. He will be graduating from Charlotte Christian on May 26. How time does fly.
Gill has been a standout basketball player and a good student throughout his high school career. He's been named all-state two times, first team all-conference, he's on the All South Charlotte News first team and is this year's South Charlotte News Player of the Year. Gill's ESPN Player Evaluation says, "The kid consistently produces."
Gill has been recruited by some of the best colleges and has signed with the Gamecocks of South Carolina. He will leave for Columbia three days after graduating from high school, to start summer classes and weight training. "I'm definitely ready to go," Gill said. "I know everyone on the team already, too."
At 6-foot-8, he'll play small forward and power forward. Gill plans to major in hospitality management.
Apart from his height, one of the first things you notice about Gill is how well-mannered he is. He looks you in the eye when shaking your hand and the words "Yes, sir," and "Thank you, ma'am" are part of his vocabulary.
"We are pleased with his development both as a player and a young man," his father, Anthony, said.
Gill's mother, Sandi, is battling breast cancer, and the younger Gill finds her to be an inspiration.
"Her fight pushes me to do better," Gill once told me.
Gill's younger sister, Kaytlyn, is a freshman at Charlotte Christian. Like her brother, Kaytlyn also is gifted as an athlete and in the classroom. She plays volleyball and runs track.
Another student athlete from the Gill family for me to watch.