Saturday, December 17, 2011

Davidson Academy Examination Day - The Intellectual Test Of Alex's Life



Song:  Guardians At The Gate

Group:  Audiomachine




A little after 0700 hrs. yesterday - Alex at the Davidson Academy.

He is relaxing for a few minutes in the car before the start of testing.





We are in the parent's question and orientation room just prior to the 
the testing.  We waited here for about 15 minutes until they called all
of the children to the exam room.

I was so proud of Alex.

This is to be his greatest battle...
yet, he seemed very calm.

This would be an 8 hour session of very advanced...
 Math, Science, English, and Critical Reasoning skills as demonstrated
through essay and verbal format.

Each subject is a guardian into the gates of the Academy.

All who enter must slay each guardian without fail...
before reaching the final Dragon...
the Psychological and Critical Reasoning (fluid reasoning) oral interview.

Of all the prospective Academy students who make it past the Final Guardian
(sounds like Final Fantasy X doesn't it?   :)  ...
only the very top performers will be accepted.



After Alex had gone into the exam room with all of this day's applicants
(multi testing days as there are many applicants)...
we had gone on a walk around the campus of the University.


We went back home and awaited the Academy's phone call to pick up Alex.

They said the testing concluded at 4:00 P.M. ...
although we could possibly be called at 3:30 or so as
sometimes the prospective students finish their exam early.

We received a call at 3:00 P.M. ...
OK...I was stunned...
What was the meaning of this?

The Academy representative said Alex had finished early and was ready
to be picked up.

On the way there, my wife and I were filling the van with all sorts of worried
speculations about why he had finished so early...
had he failed to defeat an earlier guardian and was asked to leave?

If so, was it the final essay that had stumped him?

Had he failed to defeat the final dragon?
 (oral fluid reasoning - our main worry over the past two weeks)

What was going on?

We arrived at the Academy.

I took in a deep breath of the chilled air...
steeled my will...
walked toward the entrance...
pulled at the mighty oaken and iron clad gates.

They slowly opened to reveal a great hall filled with
fallen warriors...
their armor scorched...
their lances broken...
their shields held wearily at their sides.

I slowly gazed from one end of the hall to the next...
my heart stilled by the sight of Alex, his back to us.

He was surrounded by three or four other children.

Was he being given comfort by the compassionate?

Would he turn slowly toward us with a forlorn gaze...
a tear streaked face?

We called out his name...
he turned...
raised his hand in an unexpectedly vigorous fashion and...

waved and smiled!


The other children called out to Alex and said they hoped to see him
at the start of the new school year next year.

The other children were some of the veterans of the Academy...
they were asking him how he had done on his exam and were wishing him well.

The formerly fallen warriors of my mind were just more of the veteran academy
students on a break between classes.

No longer were they looking defeated...
the great hall turned back into a bright tiled entry way...
the oppressive great oaken and iron clad doors
had dissolved from my vision and had reverted into the glass and aluminum
automatic doors of the Academy.



Alex said he thought he had done well.

He wasn't worried...he seemed happy.

He said he was really excited at the thought of possibly becoming a student
here at the Davidson Academy.

We, of course, attempted to question him on what the testing
had consisted of, as we only had a basic outline of the categories.

All the way home in the van...
my wife and I had asked him for specifics.

He replied in a typical fashion.
He just said nonchalantly...
that he doesn't remember.

OK...now...
there is no way I am going to be stressed over the next 2-3 weeks
until the results come out because a complete lack of details.

I then probed a little more.

I had asked him about his math (his forte)...he said he did well.
He said he didn't think that he had any problem with the Algebra...
however, he said that although he could answer some of the pre-Calculus questions...
that is where he finally got stumped.

This is ok...
he has never been formally taught Calculus.
He has only had some exposure to it.

I had asked him about the Science Exam.
I asked him to give me a sample question.

He said he remembers a problem involving two objects of differing
mass in a body of water.

Well...this, of course, could be a specific gravity problem if they were measuring
them separately and trying to determine the nature of the objects...
a predictive water displacement problem...
it could be setting the stage for a buoyancy problem...
I needed more specifics!

He said that he had given a specific answer and I thought...
Oh No...unless the weights were known and compared to the amount of water...
it wasn't a specific gravity problem...
then he said...
that maybe it wasn't how the problem was structured...that he didn't really remember....
Arrghhh!

I stopped asking him questions as his answers raised more questions
than they had answered.

I then realized that not only was I in the presence of an
Intellectual Knight coming fresh off the battlefield
after engaging in combat with the largest dragon in the land...
I realized that he had no worries...he had no regrets.

So... who am I to worry?

Alex had done his best...
what comes.. will come...
 regardless of our worrying.


My not knowing the details of the Davidson Academy examination
can only lead me to speculate as to what had happened.

OK...here goes...


Alex had...
aforetime... honed his battle skills...
defeated the guardians of the gate...one by one...
sought out and tracked the dragon to its lair...
spied the great beast filling his lungs
in preparation to deliver his great scorching breath of fire...
released the reigns of his great war horse...
lifted his shield, raised himself off his saddle...
leaned forward as he gave a great kick...
and launched forward.

He had merged with his warhorse into a single battle unit...
charging unwaveringly...
 a heart steeled by courage...
his weapons hardened by his unrelenting study habits.

Nearing the great billowing chest of the dragon...
Alex lowered his great lance...
Extinctor Draconis
 (Dragon Slayer)...
aligning it with the beast's heart.

Now in full gallop...
becoming one with his lance...
his war horse...
his sacred mission...
Alex raised his visor as he knew he had to
have an unobstructed view of his target...
the heart of the Dragon.

He watched the muscular contraction of the Dragon's chest
as it prepared to unleash the great conflagration
that would have consumed his very bones.

Knowing that in battle...
to fear is to hesitate...
and to hesitate is to die...
Alex... spurred his mount one final time.

His war horse, ever in synch with his rider...
lowered his head momentarily before snapping it upwards...
allowing him to gather the great power of his sinews
to release in a monumentous surge of power...
and launched them head long into the
heavily armored scaled chest of the Dragon.


Alex...

courageous of heart...
steadfast in delivery...
his lance firmly buttressed against his armor...
the point lowered to form an Isosceles Triangle of mass...
allowing the inertia of the battle unit to converge upon a single point...
the point of Extinctor Draconis...

watched, as if in slow motion, as his lance disappeared into the Dragon's chest.


The combined mass of Alex and his mount traveling at full gallop
had sent the Dragon reeling backwards and off a cliff into a black maw.

Had Alex not struck true...
had his lance not pierced the Dragon's heart...
it will merely lick its wounds...
make a full recovery...
and Alex will have to return in one year's time
to once again...
attempt to slay the Dragon.

If that turns out to be the case...
we, as his parents...
will fashion stronger weapons...
and have him study new battle techniques.

We must wait for 2 - 3 weeks to find out if the Dragon had survived.




Now...

I can't swear to the preceding events depicted... as I can only 
let my imagination fill in for the absence of specific information...

so...

that is, more or less, how I think the examination went  :)







8 comments:

  1. Phew! Haha, while reading this, I wasn't nervous like you were... I knew Alex must have done well. :)

    Did he say much about the oral interview? That is the part I am most curious about... to know if he felt good about his performance.

    Do you know how many prospective students there are, and about how many will be accepted this time?

    I am confident that Alex did well, but I'm sure you will be full of anticipation until you know the results. Try not to think of it too much. Enjoy the holidays! You all deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes...Alex said he thinks he did well. No, I don't know how many slots or how many prospective students there are...but there are only a total of 140 students in the academy. This academy is the only one if its kind in the nation.

    I am trying to not think of it too much. We have contingencies in mind for either way it goes. To Alex...this is just another day. He doesn't seem to be nervous at all. The day after the test...he just started studying some more. We told him he could just take the day off. I think he is more comfortable just keeping some of his routine intact. He is always doing some studying, even on vacation. He likes to read...and of course, I like to engage him in some critical reasoning practice using his environment at the time.

    We, are resigned to simply move forward whatever the outcome is. This is a big stress relief in itself. Should he not make it this time...we shall prepare him for the testing next year. Should he make it...we shall be preparing him for the challenges of the academy next year. Either way...it is going to be a lot more studying.

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  3. That is great that Alex isn't nervous or stressed about the test results. I can't imagine that the academy will see another candidate as dedicated as Alex.

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  6. CORRECTION:

    By the way, one of the staff said about 10% of the students were 504 plan - ADD - ADHD - Dysgraphia - Perhaps some Aspies.

    I had misunderstood. I had thought 504 plan was exclusively Autistic Spectrum. My wife had corrected me.

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  7. Hello! I am a davidson academy student who recently moved to Reno. I really hope Alex makes it into the school - he would be a great addition to our community.

    Thank You!

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  8. Welcome. Thank you very much for your kind words. We hope to have Alex retest soon. I must commend you...The Davidson Academy is one of our goals. Alex really wishes to attend there someday. While we were there for his testing and for seminars...I had really seen such a great group of people and students. I know Alex would love going there also. Hopefully he will be able to meet you one day there. Thank you again.

    ReplyDelete

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