PHARR, Texas – Vanguard GEAR UP invited 75 7th grade students to join the prestigious 7th Grade Talent Search for gifted students sponsored by Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP). 

Each year, a select group of students in the United States are identified as academically gifted based on their exceptional standardized test scores in school and are invited to participate in the TIP program. Only students scoring in the 95th percentile or better on standardized tests qualify. 

Participants are then invited to take the above-grade level ACT or SAT tests designed for college-bound tenth and eleventh graders so that their academic abilities and potential can be more accurately evaluated. They also receive a variety of support services and gain access to research and other information about using their academic abilities more effectively.

The Duke University Talent Identification Program is a nonprofit educational organization that is recognized as a leader in identifying and serving the educational needs of academically gifted youth. Through identification, recognition, challenging educational programs, information, advocacy and research, Duke TIP provides resources to gifted students, their parents, educators, and schools to help gifted scholars reach their full academic potential. For more on Duke TIP talent searches, including qualification requirements for its 4th-6th Grade Talent Search and 7th Grade Talent Search, visit

Vanguard GEAR UP is proud to announce that Elia Leal has been recognized at a Duke TIP Grand Qualifier. In order to qualify, a student must score on the ACT: a 28 in Math or a 31 in Reading or a 28 in Science. Ms. Leal will be attending the Duke TIP Grand Qualifier Ceremony at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, in the Spring of 2021. Also, we are pleased to announce that 9 Vanguard 7th GEAR UP students qualified for Duke TIP State Recognition. In order to qualify, students needed to score on the ACT test: 22 in English or a 22 in Math or a 23 in Reading. These students will be attending a Duke TIP State Recognition Ceremony in Spring, 2021. Location is to be determined.

Duke TIP Program State Qualifiers:

Ivan Avila – Rembrandt Secondary 

Jeremy Clemente – Rembrandt Secondary (not pictured)

Gael De La Rosa – Rembrandt Secondary (not pictured)

Joseph Garcia – Rembrandt Secondary 

Evan Morales – Rembrandt Secondary 

Michaela Thomas – Rembrandt Secondary 

Felicity Williams – Rembrandt Secondary 

Jessie Meza – Beethoven Secondary

Elia Leal – Mozart Secondary

Mother of Evan Morales, Rembrandt Secondary Duke TIP State Qualifier, Ms. Karolina Morales, stated: “I truly appreciate the educational opportunities provided for my son, Evan, including Saturday DUKE TIP ACT Test Prep and test motivation by the Vanguard Academy GEAR UP team. His label of a State Qualifier is a reflection of the educational support provided by Vanguard Academy and the recognition of his talents. I am beyond grateful to the GEAR UP team for recognizing and bringing to light my son, Evan’s, hard work and dedication to his academics. Thank you again, Vanguard Academy and the GEAR UP team for recognizing Evan’s accomplishments!!”