- About Us
Covington teen skips high school for early entrance program at the University of Washington
Gabriella Sciuchetti traded catching a yellow school bus for a Metro bus this fall and high school for the University of Washington.
For 13-year-old Gabriella school has always come easy. She skipped a grade, participated in the Kent School District’s highly capable program, and for fun in fifth grade she taught herself Calculus from her dad’s college textbook.
Gabriella is attending the Early Entrance Program at The Halbert and Nancy Robinson Center for Young Scholars at UW. The program, which is open to students younger than 15, allows students to skip high school and attend a year of transition school at UW before starting as freshmen at the university the following academic year.
Last spring Gabriella had already taken the SAT test and was talking to her school counselor about planning high school and how to get into top colleges.
That’s when the counselor called Gabriella’s parents, Scott and Traci, and suggested they consider the UW program. The deadline to apply was just two weeks away.
She called and said, ‘I think Gabriella is a good candidate for this, it might be something you should look into, and everything flew,” Traci Sciuchetti said. “Initially our reaction was: we’ve never heard of this program before, so what is it. So fist we looked at the program and the feasibility of it, and obviously, once the shock wore off, even the feasibility of it, it was what do we have to do to apply?”
Gabriella said that she was hesitant at first, she didn’t want to leave her friends, but more she learned about the program the more excited she got.
“It just got to the point of how could I not accept it at this point and it seemed like such a great opportunity,” Gabriella said.
To apply to the program Gabriella had to fill out an application, take the ACT test, and submit letters of recommendation from teachers as well as her and her parents all had to be interviewed.
“They want to make sure that any student coming into the program is not only intellectually capable of being in the program but mentally and socially can handle being in the program,” Traci Sciuchetti said. “It’s a very demanding, intense program. They really ask a lot of good questions.”
Gabriella’s studies and the commute to the UW makes for long days, Gabriella gets up at 4:50 a.m. to catch the bus at 6:30 a.m. to make the start of classes at 8:30 a.m. Her afternoons are filled with studying and participating in mixed martial arts.
“Pretty much saying yes is committing to having no social life for eight months,” Gabriella said with laugh.
Overall, Gabriella said she’s enjoying the program.
“I definitely like it,” Gabriella said. “It’s a lot more of a challenge than I’m used to and I’m not used to not being the highest in class which is kind of taking some getting used to. It’s definitely really fun, all the people in it are really amazing, the teachers are awesome.”
There are 14 students in Gabriella’s class, of which she is the youngest.
The year of transition school is focused on helping the students adapt to the university environment and giving them the tools they’ll need to be successful as freshmen next fall.
“My history teacher was discussing how he graded us because we just got grades back on our first essay and he said, ‘we’ll right now I’m changing the scale from the university a little bit because you’re all about the level of really terrible freshmen. By the end of the year you’re going to be really outstanding freshmen going in’” Gabriella said.
Gabriella said the community is one of her favorite aspects of the program so far.
“Just having community of people to work with and I really like just being on the campus,” Gabriella said. “It’s really beautiful and all the libraries. Class-wise I’m probably liking English the best.”
Gabriella’s parents said they knew from an early age that she was ahead academically from what teachers would say, what Gabriella would say about school, her grades and being able to skip a grade and participating in the highly capable program.
“She was reading classics in fifth, sixth, seventh grade. Everything from Huckleberry Finn to Gone with the Wind, to 1984,” Scott Sciuchetti said. “All those things that were required in high school and college she was reading in fifth, sixth grade and understanding them.”
Gabriella said her friends asked her why she would want to skip the high school experience, but Gabriella said she didn’t see it as missing out on anything, just having a different experience.
“Here she is amongst other students that are all like her,” Tracy Sciuchetti said. “It’s really the first time that she has truly fit in.”