Ashton Will, one of the photographers for Valutivity LLC, was honored in the Mechanicsville Local, Vol. 27, No. 29, as “The Local Pick” for the November 17, 2010 issue. You may remember that his evocative photography was featured in the October blog item titled Thirst. The full text of that article is included here.


img_20101009_100232 mrs coll with ashAshton Will honored at event for gifted children

 "Ashton Leigh Will, a student from Mechanicsville, recently was honored at a statewide awards ceremony for gifted children held by The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) in Baltimore, MD.

A fourth grader in his second year with CTY, Ashton said he enjoys playing soccer and guitar, being on the Lego Robotics FIRST team at Mechanicsville Elementary School and participating in events at Fairmount Christian Church.

An avid artist and photographer, he thinks he may want to be an engineer.

Ashton was honored at an awards ceremony at the University of Richmond on Oct. 9.     He was joined at the awards ceremony by his teacher, Jennifer Coll; his parents, Barry Will and Karen Smith-Will; his brother Alexander Will, a two-time Talent Search award winner and now a student at Stonewall Jackson Middle School; and his sister Alexa.

Coll is in her third year teaching the Will children.

Because she “loops” along with the fourth graders, she will teach Ashton again in the fifth grade.

This ceremony, sponsored by CTY (, celebrates exceptional performance on a rigorous, above-grade-level test given to second through eighth grade Talent Search participants.

Seventh and eighth graders took the SAT or ACT, the same tests used for college admissions.

Second through sixth graders took the SCAT, an above-level test scaled for younger students.
Since 1979, CTY has sought the most academically able elementary- and middle-school students and encouraged their enrollment in the annual fall CTY Talent Search, open September through November. Students then test in the winter and spring.
The results of these tests give families a better idea of a child's academic talents, particularly in comparison to the thousands of other academically talented students in the Talent Search.

Students can also earn recognition at CTY's awards ceremonies, and their test scores may qualify them for CTY's summer programs and distance education courses.

In 2006-07 alone, over 73,000 students from 19 states and the District of Columbia participated in the Talent Searches offered through CTY.

About 30 percent of the second and sixth graders who tested this winter earned an invitation to CTY's Awards Ceremony, and about 25 percent of the 7th and 8th grade testers earned an invitation to an Awards Ceremony.
"With our annual award ceremonies, we're committed to giving these exceptional young people a stage on which to recognize their academic achievements, just as we celebrate achievements in athletics or the performing arts," said CTY executive director, Lea Ybarra. "Their performance places them in the top tier of students taking these tests, and they certainly deserve acclaim."

Who gets the credit for success? "The students," Ybarra said. "They possess an academic fearlessness and intellectual ability that will benefit their entire generation."
Leading them to their success, she said, are parents and educators. 'Parents who support and encourage their children, and teachers who inspire through their knowledge and passion for a subject, create engaged young people who are well prepared to lead and shape tomorrow's world.'"

Congratulations, Ashton!


Article Contents from the Mechanicsville Local ©2010 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General company.