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Burnishing the Brightest Stars

It’s been a long afternoon, but the waves of students emerging from their dorms after dinner are as energetic and chatty as they were at noon. Dressed in college T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops the middle and high schoolers flood the college’s academic quad, books in hand, goofing around and greeting one another as they get ready to proceed to study hall for another two hours of work.

Hansen perches on a red Adirondack chair under a canopy of trees and watches the CTYers gather nearby. It’s been a day filled with new faces and compelling questions, with dozens of discussions with students about everything from existentialist philosophy and ethics to their plans for college. She’s impressed by what she’s seen and heard. “I feel so lucky to be here,” she says. “It’s like I walked into the right place at the right time.”

CTY has already been around for 32 years, and I value the continuity and tradition of the research Julian Stanley started. At the same time, 32 years is a very short time in the history of education. It’s truly wonderful to sense it’s still early days for CTY.

Elaine Tuttle Hansen, CTY executive director

As she observes the students walk to their classrooms, she remembers the response that one student after another offered that day when she asked them what they liked best about CTY. Girls and boys, students of different ages and colors, kids from all over the world, their answer was the same.

Being at CTY, they said, makes them feel like they belong. Now she knows how they feel.