GT Times

Spring 2021

Welcome to the newsletter of the Gifted and Talented Department for the Egg Harbor Township School District! This newsletter will be published once per month, and you will find information about all of the fantastic activities we do with our students. We will also post upcoming events and important dates at the bottom along with links to each of our web pages. Enjoy!

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Davenport Primary and Elementary Schools

Davenport's Imagineers!

The GT students at Davenport are combining imagination and engineering to become Imagineers. This Imagineering unit is designed to pull back the curtain to show you how artists, designers and engineers work together to create theme parks. The students have been going behind the scenes with Disney Imagineers and completing project-based exercises to design a theme park of their very own. Students are creating their own "Land" using Environmental Storytelling which will allow their guests to step into their story to experience it.

With each lesson and activity, students also learning about diverse career disciplines that come together to create a theme park such as:



Visual and graphic design

Civil, mechanical and software Engineering


Costume designing

Digital sculpting

Ride mechanics

Dimensional designing

Creative directing




As the Imagineering process came together, students created blueprints and graphics, then built a model of an attraction as a culminating activity. Many went beyond expectations and their creations could certainly be marketed to Disney Imagineers!

Davenport Imagineer Project - June 2021
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Slaybaugh Primary and Elementary Schools

Flying High!

Slaybaugh's 2nd grade PEP students finished their unit on flight with the construction of foam gliders. Each student made impressive progress from their first design to their final glider. This project allowed them to develop into a strong community of learners as they shared the design tips and tricks learned through their own experiences.

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Seeing It in the Stars!

Third grade GT students at Slaybaugh enjoyed learning about the many connections that exist between astronomy and mythology. For a final creative project in this area, students were challenged to visualize a new constellation among randomly dropped star stickers. After each student discovered their own constellation, they wrote a mythological story explaining how the constellation came to be. Their stories were amazing!

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Swift School

Swift 1st Grade PEP Students Explore Space

The 1st grade students in Mrs. Sooy’s PEP classes learned about space by researching the Sun, our Moon, Earth and Mars. They created slide shows demonstrating their new knowledge. As their final project, they designed, constructed, and tested Mars Rovers.

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Engineering Roller Coasters in 2nd Grade PEP

Swift’s 2nd grade students began their roller coaster unit discussing what they liked or didn’t like about roller coasters. They agreed that too much potential force leads to too much kinetic energy and that which was a little too scary for them. They’re trying to find a balance between the forces to create a paper roller coaster that other 2nd grade students would enjoy riding. They’ll name and market their roller coaster later.

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Let’s Get Creative!

Third grade students in Swift’s GT program learned strategies to improve their creativity. They had fun practicing fluent, flexible, original, and elaborate thinking. After several activities, including using their initials as part of illustrations of things they like, students designed and created their own chain reaction machines.

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Miller School

WordMaster Challenge Success!

The fourth grade team representing Miller School recently earned Highest Honors in the 2020-2021 WordMasters Challenge™—a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 125,000 students annually. The fourth grade team scored an impressive 192 points out of a possible 200 in the last of three meets this year, placing third in the nation.

Competing in the very difficult Gold Division of the WordMasters Challenge™, fourth graders Stella Barilotti, Elias Person and Maha Provita each earned a perfect score of 20 in the recent meet. Nationally, only 51 fourth graders achieved this result. Other students at Miller School who achieved outstanding results in the last meet of the year, scoring 19 out of 20 correct, include fourth graders Kora Bair, Sorrento Esposito, Dante Olivieri, Sandhana Rajesh, Reese Resnick and Zackary Simon. Additionally, Priya Bhagat, Tyler Chubb, Gregory DeSantis, Chase Gregoire, Alexandra Hernon, Joie Le, Giana Sinclair, and Sophia Villanueva, as well as fifth graders Emma Flynn, Shreevas Arun Prasad, Olivia Math and Karlee Monroe scored 18 of 20 on test three. Please keep in mind that scores in the WordMasters Challenge™ do not reflect typical classroom results. In general, less than 5% of participants score 18 or above.

Photo Identifications

Above - Students scoring 19 of 20 correct on Test #3 for the WordMaster Challenge are: Rear L to R: Kora Bair, Sorrento Esposito, Reese Resnick - Front L to R: Zach Vogt and Dante Olivieri - On computer: Zackary Simon and Sandhana Rajesh

Left - Students scoring 20 of 20 correct on Test #3 for the WordMaster Challenge are: Maha Provita and Stella Barilotti with Elias Person on the computer.

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Miller Students Make Noise on the National Stage in the WordMaster Challenge Competition!

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In addition to their third place finish in Test 3, the fourth graders also placed second nationally in the overall competition with a cumulative score of 581 points out of a possible 600! Fourth graders (above) Sandhana Rajesh and Zackary Simon (59 points out of a possible 60) and Dante Olivieri and Elias Person (58 points) also earned individual Highest Honors in the overall competition. Highest Honors are reserved for students who place among the top 10-15 students in the entire country in their division! Several students also received High Honors for being among the top 2% of all students nationally in the cumulative competition. These students include Reese Resnick (57 out of a possible 60 points), Tyler Chubb, Ava Puggi, and Nathan Smith (54 out of a possible 60 points), and Alexandra Hernon, Joie Le, and Owen Renard (53 out of a possible 60 points). Honorable Mention students are those in the Top 10% of all competitors nationally. Students receiving this distinction include Addison McColligan, Brielle Talaba, Zach Vogt, and Nathaniel Rupp.

The fifth grade team from Miller School earned a total of 540 points to finish tenth nationwide in the overall competition! Receiving High Honors for being among the top 2% of all students nationally is Emma Flynn (56 out of a possible 60 points). Joining her in the Top 10% of participating students in the country and receiving Honorable Mentions are: Tyler Straup, Luke Carter, Savion Guring, Joseph Hoang, Alex Hodac, Darko Lichon, Sierra Morton, and Lauren Do.

The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge™ by Miss Kelly Hunt, Teacher of Gifted and Talented for Grade 4 and 5.

The WordMasters Challenge™ is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically. Although most vocabulary enrichment and analogy-solving programs are designed for use by high school students, WordMasters Challenge™ materials have been specifically created for younger students in grades three through eight. They are particularly well suited for children who are motivated by the challenge of learning new words and enjoy the logical puzzles posed by analogies.

The WordMasters Challenge™ program is administered by a company based in Indianapolis, Indiana, which is dedicated to inspiring high achievement in American schools. Further information is available at the company’s website:

Photo Identifications

Photo above right: Fifth Grader Emma Flynn received High Honors which is the top 2% of all students nationally in the cumulative competition.


Photo #1 - Fourth Grade students receiving High Honors (top 2% of all students nationally in the cumulative competition) are: Owen Renard, Alexandra Hernon, Ava Puggi, Tyler Chubb, and Reese Resnick. Missing are Nathan Smith and Joie Le.

Photo #2- Fourth grade students receiving Honorable Mention (Top 10% of all competitors nationally) include: Nathaniel Rupp, Zach Vogt, Brielle Talaba, and Addison McColligan.

Photo #3 -Fifth grade students receiving Honorable Mention (Top 10% of all competitors nationally) include: Lauren Do, Alex Hodac, Darko Lichon, and Joseph Hoang, with Savion Guring on the computer. Students not pictured are: Tyler Straup, Luke Carter, and Sierra Morton.

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Cells Alive!

The fourth grade GT students have been working on a study unit about cells. Beginning with the basics, they learned about eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. From there, they concentrated on plant and animal cells, cell structures and the differences between them. After taking a trip through the kingdoms and phylums, their real work began!

Their primary investigation of microscopic organisms focused on nine organisms studied through a “Virtual Pond Dip”. They first focused on gaining a better understanding of Kingdoms and Phylums for each of the organisms. After gathering their data, they created their own pie chart and bar graph to share their findings.

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Miller Microbiologists

The fourth grade GT students just finished working on a study unit about cells. Beginning with the basics, they learned about eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. From there, they concentrated on plant and animal cells, cell structures and the differences between them. After taking a trip through the kingdoms and phylums, their real work began!

Their primary investigation of microscopic organisms focused on nine organisms studied through a “Virtual Pond Dip”. They first focused on gaining a better understanding of Kingdoms and Phylums for each of the organisms. After gathering their data, they created their own pie chart and bar graph to share their findings.

Moving on from there, students focused on 10 specific microscopic organisms utilizing web pages created by Miss Hunt. These 10 organisms were those that they were going to be viewing with a microscope.

Vorticella Colony and Stentor

When the lab days arrived, students were very excited! To see organisms like this Stentor (right) that were 40, 100, and 400 times their actual size was just fascinating! Students had to use their observation skills, coupled with the knowledge they learned, to identify each of the nine samples they saw. Throughout, Miss Hunt took photos and videos of the organisms using a digital microscope that was connected to the computer. After the lab was over, Miss Hunt shared them with the students so they could make their final observation and complete their lab reports.

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Miller School’s Rocket Scientists!

The fifth grade GT students have been working on an aviation unit for the last few weeks. Their ultimate goal was to create a straw rocket that would be launched at various angles and fly farther than anyone else's in the class. To build their rockets, they were given a straw, an index card, and clay. After studying rockets and rocket design, the students had to decide how long their rocket would be, how many fins would be used, how the fins would be shaped, what type of nose cone they would use, how large it would be, and how it would be shaped.

The building process was not at all what they students anticipated. It took them two plus class periods to complete their design and build. To preliminarily test their rocket, students used a small tabletop launcher. This helped them to see if their nose cone was too heavy or large, if their rocket was stable, and if it flew. They also had to perform other tests to make sure that it was balanced.

It was amazing how varied the rocket designs were! Now that they were all ready, the next step was to launch the rockets at varying degrees to see if our budding rocket scientists were successful!

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Shooting for the Moon!

Part of the pre-launch process was checking the angle prior to launch!

After designing and construction their straw rockets, launch day was here! Students were tasked with conducting three launches at four launch angles: 15°, 30°, 45°, and 60°. After gathering their launch data, they had to find the average distance at each angle and record all data for further study

To launch the rockets, Miss Hunt used a “Straw Rocket Launcher”. The launch has three stages: (1) the pressurization of the body tube, (2) the initial acceleration along the launch tube, and (3) the expulsion of the compressed air from the rear of the rocket. To do this, rockets were inserted onto the launch tube. The launch rod was raised to a predetermined height that was the same for all, and then released. The air was pushed through the launch tube and propelled the rocket.

For all rocket scientists, the best overall results were achieved at the 45° angle. This is because at this angle, the rocket can travel the farthest horizontally before gravity pulls it back down to Earth. The rocket that travelled the farthest was designed by Jake Pacquing and went 52ft 8in. The list below shows all students who successfully broke 40ft for their overall average at the 45° angle.

Joseph Hoang - 49ft 4in

Lillian Tosh - 49ft

Annabelle Nikolouzos - 48ft 8in

Sydney Sherbon - 48ft 1in

Darko Lichon - 45ft 8in

Karlee Monroe - 45ft

Maddie Stickel - 43ft 2in

Abby DeCosta - 43ft

Abby Elias - 41ft 4in

Lilly Do - 41ft

Anthony Le and Miss B. - 40ft 9in

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A Little Target Practice!

After working with their straw rockets and completing their lab launch, the students had the opportunity to put their new-found knowledge to work...launching their rockets at targets! A few days prior, Miss Hunt and Miss B. created two five+ foot high targets using recycled materials. These targets had five open areas, and the students were tasked with figuring out the proper launch angle and applied pressure that would be needed to have their rocket fly though the openings. Each opening had a point value attached, and the rocketeer with the most points won a prize!

To start out, Miss Hunt let the students get a feel for the targets, distance (15 feet) and what was needed to achieve their goal of launching their rocket through the target. After the students got comfortable, the real challenge began...they were assigned specific point values and had to aim for that particular target! In the end, Alex Hodac was the overall winner!

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Two Years at Miller!

To commemorate their two years of GT at the Miller School, Miss Hunt created and shared a video of activities the 5th graders did in GT in grades 4 and 5! We hope you enjoy it as much as the 5th graders did!

2019-2021 Two Years of GT
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Alder Avenue MS and Fernwood Avenue MS

One Judge, One School

Sixth grade students in the gifted and talented program had the opportunity to speak with a local judge, two practicing trial attorneys, and a law clerk as part of the One Judge, One School ​program. The Honorable Judge Benjamin Podolnick from the Atlantic County Superior court, Danielle Walcoff from Lipari & Walcoff, Anthony Previti from the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, and law clerk Shelby Scheffler were all part of the presentation. We even had a surprise visit from one of the Atlantic County sheriff's officers at the courthouse, Officer Naveja.

The students, who had recently been studying our legal system and competing in mock trials, were then given the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters. Hearing about the different experiences of the various speakers provided the students a real-world perspective on what they've been learning in class. The students really enjoyed the program, and the presenters commented on how impressed they were with the students and their questions. Great job, everyone!

A HUGE thank you to Judge Podolnick, Mrs. Walcoff, Mr. Previti, Miss Scheffler, and Officer Naveja for generously giving their valuable time, and to Jeanne Seymour for coordinating the event.

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Mock Trial 2021

The sixth grade GT students have been learning about law over the past couple months, culminating recently when they competed in mock trials. Students learned how to write an opening statement and a closing argument, how to conduct a direct examination and a cross examination, and, finally, how and when to object during a trial.

Then, during each of the twenty-eight mock trials, the attorneys on each side of the case presented their arguments in an attempt to persuade​ the jury. Jurors were chosen from the 6th grade classes who were watching the trial, and they ultimately decided the outcome of the case. We also had a special trial where GT program alumni and current 10th graders Roger Flores, Sawyer Dilks, and Sal Castro-Solano served as jurors along with three teachers.

Even though the trials had to be completely virtual this year, the student attorneys and jurors all did an amazing job. The teachers attending the trials said they were so exciting that they were sad to see the week end! Great work, everyone!

(Photo above, right: Judge Tanner)

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Class of 2021 Senior Smiles!

Throughout the past week, many of the faculty and staff of EHT Schools have been participating in the "Senior Smiles" campaign. This event is sponsored by Project Graduation, and is a way, according to their Facebook page, to "bring much needed smiles to the Senior Class of 568 students!" It was also an opportunity for us to check up on some of our alumni! Check out the gallery below of some of our former GT students who were surprised by Mr. McClain, Mrs. Pettit, and Miss Hunt!

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Upcoming Events!

June 14th, 15th and 16th are half days. Our last day of school is June 16, 2021!
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Click the link below for our individual web pages. Contact information for each teacher is found on their sites.

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