Finding My Passion: To Be Young, Gifted, and Black

While attending a public-school deemed a “School of Excellence,” I was initially identified as gifted in the third-grade. After scoring in the 99th percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), which is a national standardized test, I was referred for gifted testing and subsequently placed in the gifted program at my school. I was the only Black student in the program, and always felt as if I did not quite belong in the program. Being “smart” came naturally for me, and it was something my parents, teachers, and even I recognized at a young age; however, being in this environment was a bit intimidating and created feelings of competition, a fear of failure, and a desire to be perfect.