Breanna (left) and Brooke Bennett are the twins of Adeyela and Bradley Bennett. Brad is the former executive editor of the South Florida Times.
We were quite upset when we learned that the Florida Senate’s PreK-12 Education Committee has proposed cuts to the $60,000 Challenge Grants for the Gifted. We are gifted children, and so are most of our friends. We know first-hand that our schools need more funding for gifted services, not less. Most voters agree with us.
We read an article on the National Association for Gifted Children’s website that said a majority of Americans from all political groups support increasing national and state funding for gifted services.
Perhaps you don’t know why schools need more money to provide special services for gifted children. Well, let us help you understand. Gifted children are special, but we are not better than other children. We are just different. This doesn’t mean that we are smarter than other children; we just have a different way of thinking and learning. We experience life in an extremely intense manner because we are very sensitive. We love deeply, hurt easily and demand that adults and other children do the right thing. Gifted children are also leaders and need to learn how not to control other people. Instead of following what other people say, we ask questions and then come up with our own ideas about how to make the world a better place. While we are not always straight A students, gifted children enjoy learning — everything. Most of us learn best by doing, rather than by just listening to the teacher lecture about a topic. So, you see, we need special services in school to help us become successful students and citizens.
We learned from a letter from the Florida Association for the Gifted that the Challenge Grants for the Gifted is a pot of money that teachers from all over Florida can apply for to use for special projects and services. Here is a list of ten challenging and fun activities we could do in school if the Florida legislature does the right thing and provides more funding for gifted programs:
1. Conduct experiments to find ways to keep astronauts safer when they go to space and ways to make it possible for human beings to live on other planets
2. Take field trips to explore Florida’s parks, oceans and other natural resources in per- son
3. Study more world languages, like Arabic and Swahili
4. Participate in more fun, hands-on activities, such as making slime, building robots and dissecting animals
5. Travel to other continents to study their natural resources, historical monuments, religions and government
6. Create video blogs about our activities to share with pen pals around the county, state, country and world
7. Publish books of our poetry, short stories and essays
8. Learn to play and create instruments and artwork, compose songs, choreograph dances and learn sports from a wide range of world cultures
9. Interview local, statewide and national legends to learn first-hand about their experiences
10. Grow GMO-free oranges, strawberries and other Florida fruits, vegetables and herbs to make medicine to cure common illnesses.
In short, we want to learn everything! We can learn some things for free, but most experiences require money. Please do the right thing, and give more money for gifted education!
Breanna and Brooke Bennett