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Young Theorists At Work, After School at Indian Hill

Students show off their work at the end of a 10-week session in an after-school program held at Indian Hill School in Holmdel

Who shot JFK? Why did boats sink in the Bermuda Triangle? And where did the all the Mayans go?

These "Mysteries in History" and more were considered by a group of students who gathered at the Indian Hill School for two hours on Tuesday afternoons over the past 10 weeks. The children in the Summer Institute for the Gifted [SIG] classes chose a subject, researched the facts and developed their own theories.

"The great thing about SIG is watching children bring creativity to the table and seeing where they go with it," said instructor Amanda Viggiano.

At the "Museum Day" on Tuesday afternoon, children invited their parents to come see their work. The adults browsed the projects, hearing about the research from the enthused investigators. Holmdel Public School's Gifted and Talented Teacher Marilyn Bellis stopped in to see the hard work.

The Summer Institute for the Gifted offers programs for gifted children at Princeton, Dartmouth College and Yale Universities, among others. Demand for the programs can be keen; the Princeton program for ages 13-17 this summer is already full.

Some Holmdel families carpool in order to particpate in the summer SIG Stuart Country Day summer session in Princeton.

This school year, SIG administrators offered SIG Beyond afterschool sessions at Indian Hill School in Holmdel -- the only afterschool program around, except for one in Connecticut. SIG rents space at the school. Participants paid $395 each for the course.

Program Director Rebecca Levine said she hoped to continue offering SIG next year again at Indian Hill School, and welcomes inquiries from other school disticts who would like to offer the program at their location, or weekend workshops. 

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