Old Donation School’s Andrew Strassberger has been selected as the Outstanding Student Award winner by the Virginia Association for the Gifted (VAG). According to the VAG, the award is given to students in grades three through six who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in the area of academics, the arts of leaders.
“Andrew has exemplified his scholarship by working diligently and completing his assignments to the best of his ability,” Old Donation School Principal Dr. Kelly Hedrick wrote in her recommendation letter. “Beyond being an excellent scholar, Andrew’s insightful and cooperative demeanor make him a natural leader amongst his peers.”
Strassberger, a rising seventh-grader, was shocked to learn he made the cut.
“I really didn’t expect it because there are a lot of other good people out there,” he said. “When I got the letter back, I was completely amazed and blow away, and then I showed it to my parents and they were really, really happy.”
In his application, Strassberger highlighted a number of activities he had tackled outside of the curriculum to help develop his own thinking and creativity. For instance, with the school’s new building being constructed right now, Strassberger’s class had a project to design the school garden. Not only did Strassberger get to create the design, including a model of the new school complete with foam blocks. That project was ultimately used by the school’s contracted engineers to picture how to build the school’s actual garden.
As an Outstanding Student, Strassberger said the only thing that separates gifted students from the rest of their peers is just a way of looking at things.
“It’s a different mindset,” he said. “It’s not like you’re smarter or anything, you have a different mindset, a different way of looking at stuff and that’s what makes you gifted. It’s a different perspective.”
In addition to Strassberger, this year, the Virginia Association for the Gifted also honored First Colonial High School teacher Missy Sullivan as its 2016 Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted for Region II. For more information on her award, see the article here.