BALTIMORE -- Hundreds of Baltimore City students were honored at Johns Hopkins University for their dedication as advanced learners on Saturday.
Dressed in their finest attire, 380 Baltimore City elementary students were invited to receive a certificate for their hard work as intellectuals.
The emerging scholars program targets students who hail from marginalized communities.
"It's a really awesome way to say, 'We see you and all the potential,'" Baltimore City Public School Gifted Elementary Specialist Ray Lymer said.
As the applause grew, 8-year-old Shaugh-Tai held his new award high with pride.
"I don't know how to say this, but it makes me feel good about myself," Shaugh-Tai said.
Shaugh-Tai spent 25 weeks learning higher-level geometry, architecture and more. His teacher, Minata Kaba, said she could instantly see a difference in his stride.
"He's got this gleaming smile on his face and it's just really amazing to see," Kaba said.
Johns Hopkins first launched the Center for Talented Youth Baltimore Emerging Scholars program back in 2014 to acknowledge highly intelligent children who are often overlooked in schools.
"It has really largely been the purview of the White relative to more marginalized communities historically," Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Executive Director Amy Shelton said. "It's also been a purview to the affluence. That it's been really more accessible for people who have the financial means."
That's why giving children this spotlight is crucial.
"It's important because they're allowed to be able to show their strengths, excel and just show who they truly are while pursuing their passions," Kipp Baltimore kindergarten teacher Esther Gencheva said.
The program also acknowledged 70 teachers who help guide the children toward brighter futures.
"Our educators are the lifeblood of this program," Lymer said. "We wouldn't be successful if we didn't have committed talented people bringing the joy of learning to our students every single day."
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