SMART COOKIES: Miles State School 2018 USQ Academicus Program (Enrichment Programs for Gifted School Students) participants Jay Weedon and Zoey Quinn.
SMART COOKIES: Miles State School 2018 USQ Academicus Program (Enrichment Programs for Gifted School Students) participants Jay Weedon and Zoey Quinn. Contributed

Miles prodigies shine

TWO young academics from Miles are shooting for the stars after attending a holiday program at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba.

Zoey Quinn, 7, was one of two Miles State School students to attend a two-day Academicus program designed for gifted students last week.

The program, aimed at students from Prep-Year8, focusses on a variety of disciplines, including earth sciences, trigonometry, journalism, philosophy, playwriting and more.

Zoey's mum Kirsty Quinn said Zoey was one of a limited number of students invited to participate in the program and has now done it two years in a row.

"(She) loves it, absolutely loves it, she was very excited to be invited back again this year, she came running home with the note, 'oh I've got to go, I've got to go to Toowoomba again, I've been invited'.”

In Zoey's words, it was "a little trickier” than her normal classes.

"It was really different from school because we're learning harder things, but I loved it,” she said.

"I got to do visual arts, robots, coding, and reading with algebra.

"It was like you had to try and crack the code.

"It was really cool and fun.”

And Zoey isn't the only child prodigy in the family, with her older brother, Aiden, also attending in Years 1-3.

USQ lecturer in wellbeing, counselling and human development Mark Oliver said high achievement started with children and adolescents who were supported socially and exposed to challenges in their interest areas.

"Interest development becomes a driver for them to move through their schooling, and for them to think about what they're going to do post-schooling,” Mr Oliver said.

"You also need to expose the students to like-minded peers as there's a social dimension of seeing other kids with the same passions.

"Ultimately it's about developing the confidence and self-esteem that then helps to drive kids to pursue those interests throughout their education and life.”

For Mrs Quinn, the program has been incredibly worthwhile for her children.

"If there are any other parents out there umming and ahhing about sending their kids, definitely do it,” she said.

"It's absolutely worth every dollar, the kids just come back absolutely full of lots of information and I've probably learned a few things also.”