Congratulations to our

2020 award winners!

Maryland Gifted and Talented students in public school grades 5-12 are invited to participate in an essay contest:

“What have gifted education opportunities meant to me?”

February is Gifted and Talented Education Month in Maryland! This is your opportunity to let everyone know how gifted education is important and necessary for all high-potential students in Maryland. Our annual Student Essay Contest opens on February 1, 2020. Winners will receive cash awards and will be recognized at our May 2 workshop. Deadline for submissions is March 15, 2020.


The first-place winner in the Elementary and Middle School categories will receive a $50 check, and the High School winner will receive a $100 check. A letter of recognition will be sent to their principal and superintendent.


· Essay length is limited to 850 words (about three typed double-spaced pages)

What have Gifted Education Opportunities Meant to Me?

Essays should respond to the following questions

1. In what ways has your school’s gifted and talented programming helped you to pursue your interests and develop your talents?

2. What are your short-term goals (in the next few years) and your long-term goals (college and career)?

3. Think about a teacher who has helped you to develop your talents. Describe how he/she has impacted your life.

4. How would your life be different if you had not had the opportunity to participate in gifted and talented programs?

The competition is open to any Maryland public school student in grades 5-12 who now participates or has participated in special programs for gifted and talented learners.

Essay contest winners will be notified by April 19, 2020. Awards will be presented at the free MCGATE Family Workshop Advocacy 101 held on Saturday, May 2, 2020 at the Johns Hopkins University Center in Columbia, Maryland. Hold the date! Winners who cannot attend will have their awards mailed to them.

Please submit any questions to:

april 2019 poetry contest winners

Congratulations to the MCGATE Student Poetry Contest Winners

Ages 4-6 1st place, Cole Trexler, age 6

I Threw a Penny in the Fountain

I threw a penny in the fountain.

I made a wish to be the most talented.

And then I realized I was talented in so many ways.

I am better at fishing and batting.

The wish came true before I even threw the penny in the fountain.

Ages 7-8 1st place, Sofie Dardzinski, age 8, Potomac

The Worlds

I walk outside into the slanted outworld where everything needs to be explained

When I go into the uNbALanceD inworld, everything is silent, already understood

A balance for these worlds is impossible, nothing feeling right

always a tilt in the worlds, red fog is infinitely floating


Always a frustration pealing out from me

As I stand between the border of these peculiar worlds

Soft crystals brush me falling down slowly like petals blowing off from a flower

relaxing my tense muscles, my stampeding heart

I know now one possibility to live among these worlds:

That you need to show the joy that’s inside you

The worlds may still be the same but I may not

The worlds are where I was meant to be

Discovering the


Ages 9-11, 1st place, Anushka Skariah, age 10, Ellicott City

The Girl Who Slays

I’m the girl who slays her fears, Chess is where my world disappears.

Without a word, without a sword, I’m in the zone on the chess board.

I fear the size, age, and gender,

Including the aggression of my contender.

I cut out such noise, gather my poise

Take a deep breath, maneuver a few ploys.

Chess is a battlefield of mind over matter,

Of strategy, stamina, and blocked out chatter.

I Grind my teeth, slow down thought,

Squash rising panic, apply what was taught.

I battle the urge to act without thinking,

Analyze, analyze, I stare without blinking.

The knights, rooks, and pawns are advisors,

“Be present” they caution ‘cause … aren’t they just wiser?

The Bishop and King are as important,

They keep me in the game when I feel less important.

My Queen is all Power; SHE is invincible.

To strike fearlessly is her principle.

So, I slay many insecurities on the chess boards,

To move forward in life, to defeat the odds.

Ages 12-14

1st place— Tehle R., age 14, Baltimore


You’ll never be good enough

You’re a failure

No success will come your way

Constant whispers in my mind

They eat me alive like lions preying on adolescent antelope

I wish I could silence the voices, tell them to leave me alone

Jabbing, poking at me, they never seem to hush

Every moment, I wonder

Am I doing enough?

What grade will I get

What if I fail?

I am infested by the demon with two names

To the outside world, its name is motivation

The angel on your shoulder to keep you going

Its true name is perfectionism

Anxiety over anything short of excellence

Keeping you up all night, haunting your nightmares

Others have nightmares filled with tsunamis and earthquakes

While mine are filled with A-minuses

And college rejection letters

We also congratulate 2nd place winners from each category:

Aubrey S., age 6, Crofton

Mercy Adebiyi, age 7, Lanham

Anna Zhou, age 9, Germantown

Isatou Jawara, age 14, Riverdale

Congratulations to our 2018 – 2019 student essay contest winners!

Amiyah Y., 1st place middle school (PGCPS)

Ellie K., 2nd place middle school (AACPS)

Megumi Fukuzawa, 1st place high school (HCPSS)

MCGATE holds an annual student essay contest in which Maryland Gifted and Talented students in public school grades 6-12 are invited to participate in an essay contest titled:

“What have gifted education opportunities meant to me?”

This is an opportunity to let everyone know that gifted education is important and necessary for all high potential students in Maryland.

The first place winner selected from each category was awarded a check from MCGATE, a certificate, and a letter of recognition that was sent to their principals and superintendents.