More than 40 percent of Saint Andrew seventh-graders were recognized as Duke University Scholars for 2014.

Twenty-nine students scored 95 percent or higher on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which qualified them as Duke University Scholars and allowed them to take the SAT or ACT college entrance exam, said Rose Hall, the school’s development director.

“That’s a tad down,” she said. “It’s usually around 50 to 70 percent.”

Hall said the test benefits students by giving them practice. It also gets their names on a list of summer camps affiliated with universities like Southern Methodist University and Texas A&M University.

“You can’t get in [the summer camps] unless you are a Duke University Scholar,” she said.

The downside, Hall said, is that the test is long and costs $75 or more to take, plus it is not age appropriate.

Although the students scored well on the test, they will not be entering college just yet, Hall said.

“It is purely a practice,” she said.

Sam Ater and Ben Cawyer are two of eight Duke University State Scholars who will be recognized in a ceremony on May 27 at Texas Christian University.

“I was really surprised,” Cawyer said. “My parents are really proud of me.”

Ater said scoring high on the test motivated him.

“This will definitely make me try harder,” Ater said.

Angie Watts, a seventh-grade math teacher at St. Andrew, said she believes the school's Christ-like atmosphere promotes leadership and achievement.

“We keep pushing them to go up in a caring atmosphere where they feel safe and loved,” Watts said.

St. Andrew has about 700 students and Hall said she sees them all as over achievers.
“It is not nerdy to be smart here,” she said.