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By Bryan Marshall

It’s a dream Andrew Davis has had since seventh grade.
The Williamstown High School sophomore is one of only 60 students selected as a member of the Class of 2016 of the prestigious Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University.


Davis, son of Todd and Amy Davis, will complete his junior and senior years of high school living in Schneider Hall and taking courses offered by WKU.
At the end of his two-year course of study, he will graduate from high school and have earned at least 60 college credit hours.

“It is a large commitment to make,” Davis said. “It is something you have to be sure you want to do. I had some doubt. I am focused on band here and I have a lot of families and friends here. But, I think it will be better in the long run for me.”
“I wasn’t confident that I was going to make it,” Davis said. “I knew I had a good interview.

I felt qualified to make it, but I wasn’t exactly sure. I was sitting at home and I got the e-mail and I was kind of in shock. Mom is crying. Dad is happy. It was awesome. It took a little bit to sink in.”

The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s only state-supported, residential program for high school students with interests in advanced science and math careers and one of only 15 such programs in the nation.

“I felt like I wasn’t challenged as much here at school as I could be,” said Davis. “I wasn’t reaching my full potential. I’m looking at applied mathematics, but not a specific career yet. I want to use mathematic skills to make a change somewhere else.”

Davis said he is most looking forward to living on a college campus and taking college classes, especially computational problem solving.
He visited the campus during his interview and, despite the infamous hills, loved what he saw.

“Down there, it’s a lot like here (at WHS,)” Davis said. “There is only 60 kids per class and 120 at one time in the dorm. It’s really small so it will be a close-knit community. There will be a lot of kids who I share a lot of the same interests. I think it will be a cool experience where I get to meet different people from all over the state.”

Davis joins graduate Courtney Vance as the only WHS student to be selected for the Gatton Academy.

He will head to WKU on Aug. 17 for Adventure Week where he will learn about research opportunities and other activities on campus.
While he will not be walking the halls daily at WHS the next two years, Davis said he still will attend prom and walk the stage at graduation in 2016.

For Davis, there is no doubting the benefits the Gatton Academy will afford him.
“You get two years of college done,” he said. “You don’t have to pay for it. I also think it will prepare me for the workforce. They have a lot of internship opportunities, research opportunities and study abroad. I think it will make that transition more seamless and make me more employable.”