Sharing the Secret for Success in Science

What is Sophia Thomas’s secret? Sophia was the only South Burlington School District 4th grader (out of 150) to reach the highest “Proficient with Distinction” level on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) science assessment given last May.

How did she do it? “I read every question carefully, took my time, and did the best I could,” explains Sophia, now a 5th grader at Rick Marcotte Central School. Her recommendations for students preparing to take the test: “Pay attention in class, and do your homework every day.”

Sophia wants to be a teacher or a scientist “who clones animals that are going extinct.” She has many interests. In addition to enjoying science, Sophia likes art, music, singing, writing, reading, riding her bike, skiing, traveling, and cooking. She and her younger sister Hope, a first-grader at Central, also care for a hamster named Eloise, two cats, and a fish.

Sophia’s father John, who works for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, describes Sophia as “a voracious reader” who has “burned through more books than I can keep track of.” He says that Sophia’s grandfather, a former science teacher, is proud of Sophia’s accomplishments. Science apparently runs in the family: Sophia’s mother Gail works for Tetra-Tech ARD, a leading provider of consulting, engineering, and technical services worldwide.

John Thomas especially admires his daughter’s discipline and diligence in doing her homework. “It is the first thing she does when she comes home,” he says, “if she can, she will complete all work sitting in front of her—even if it is due in two weeks. She likes to clear the decks so she knows she is free to relax.”

Her father proclaims that Sophia is an even better creative writer than she is a science student. “But I am biased,” he shrugs.

SOURCE: Bill Wargo, Correspondent

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