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Pitman freshman enters high school with college credits
student spotlight photo - Ryan Burns
Ryan Burns won two scholarships from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth after scoring high on the SAT college bound test. - photo by Photo Contributed

Lee Ann Burns knew there was something special about her son when he was a toddler. He always had his nose in a book and was curious about how everything worked.

Now as Ryan Burns enters his freshman year at Pitman High School, he already has one college class under his belt and will be taking another class this year. He is thinking maybe another computer programming class.

The opportunity for these college credits can be attributed to two scholarships he won from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth after scoring high on the SAT college bound test.

“I feel really happy,” said Ryan. “It is pretty rare.”

This is the second time Ryan has taken the SATs both with high enough scores to land him a scholarship at California State University, Stanislaus to take one three-unit class. He also took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test his sixth grade year, scoring high enough to receive an award for academic excellence in CTY’s annual talent search.

In 2009/2010, over 53,000 students from 21 states and the District of Columbia participated in the talent search and only 30 percent of the participants from second grade to sixth grade and 25 percent of the participants in seventh grade and eighth grade earned an invitation to an awards ceremony, according to a press release provided by Johns Hopkins University Center.

Ryan and his family attended their third awards ceremony on Sunday at California State University, East Bay.

Ryan received a rare award indeed, but his academic excellence isn’t the only thing that he is interested in.

Besides science experiments, math and programming, Ryan is also involved in Boy Scouts, his school’s marching band and his church. He also enjoys making computer games and origami, and playing tennis and music.

He isn’t set on a future college or career yet, but his options are open and endless. He thinks it would be great to attend a University of California school, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Stanford. And he is thinking a career in programming or in teaching as a math teacher would fit him well.

His main concern is finding a career that is non-repetitive and takes some intelligence to do every day, he said.

But whatever pathway Ryan decides to take, his family has been very proud of him from day one.

“We are blown away,” said Lee Ann Burns. “He amazes us every day.”

Even though a career or college is not in his line of sight yet, he still takes on his new high school life with the same mentality of success.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.