At only 14 years old, Quinton Johnson is on the fast track to success. A recipient of a scholarship from the AAA Scholarship Foundation, Quinton attends The Dinoff School for the Gifted in Griffin, Ga., where he is challenging his academic abilities by taking college-level classes and scoring in the 99th percentile on standardized tests. However, just three years ago, Quinton’s academic future was in limbo.
Quinton has spent most of his life under the care of his grandmother, Verdelle Johnson, who has full custody of both him and his younger sister. Verdelle has been a positive influence in Quinton’s life, helping him to overcome early hardships and encouraging him to always put forth his greatest effort.
“My grandma showed me that I could do better things with my life,” Quinton says. “She taught me to try my best in everything I do.”
As Quinton began the critical transition from elementary to middle school, he began to have difficulty focusing in class and was considered to have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). As the problems worsened, he faced the possibility of being pulled out of public school and sent to an alternative school. However, Verdelle knew Quinton had great potential. She saw the bright and gifted qualities he possessed and believed he only needed the right environment to draw out his natural academic abilities.
The right environment turned out to be The Dinoff School for the Gifted, the only school of its kind in Georgia that focuses on providing individualized and challenging instruction to highly intellectual, creative and artistic students, like
Quinton. The AAA Scholarship program eased the financial barriers, making it possible for Verdelle to send Quinton to The Dinoff School – a move that has put her grandson on an upward climb both in school and life.
“Every child has different needs, including Quinton,” says Verdelle. “Having the ability to choose a school that can meet those needs is priceless. This scholarship has opened up endless opportunities for my grandson.”
The first year at Dinoff was a learning process for Quinton as he adapted to the challenging academic programs and structured environment at the school. However, the positive influences from both the students and the staff ignited his drive to succeed. He did so well in his classes that he was even able to skip a grade level.
The individualized instruction and challenging college-level courses have helped Quinton realize his true academic ability and he is excelling. He has ranked in the 99th percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and recently scored a 1550 on the SAT. He has also developed a love for reading and a knack for science. He recently won first place at the Spalding Regional Science Fair and advanced to the state finals where he was honored with a state regent’s award. In his spare time, besides reading every piece of classic literature that he can get his hands on, you can find him pouring over law books borrowed from Lesley Dinoff, the school’s headmaster, or working on his athletic skills on the basketball court.
The environment at the school has also helped to shape Quinton’s moral character. He serves as a mentor and role model to other students, offering words of encouragement and advice to his younger classmates when they face challenges, much like those he has faced both in and out of school.
“I believe that the IQ level has no socioeconomic bounds,” says Lesley Dinoff. “Our goal at The Dinoff School is that every child will come out of this school as a success story, and Quinton is no exception. Quinton is an extremely gifted young man, and I am glad that we were able to help him reach his full potential. I am excited to see the great things he will accomplish in the future.”
Now, equipped with the determination, knowledge and skills for success, Quinton is looking forward to graduating from high school and pursuing higher education. He credits his achievements to The Dinoff School and staff for bringing out his true academic abilities, and of course, his grandmother for her unwavering support and encouragement.
“I have always hoped to do something great with my life, and now I know I will,” says Quinton. “I am thankful for the opportunities that the scholarship and my school have given me.”
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