When she was 3, Veronica Richmond could solve simple math and English problems in a Disney workbook.
At age 7, she was reading at college level.
At 10, she breezed through three grades of school in two years.
Now, at the age of 12 and with a mouthful of braces, she recently scored a 1400 out of 1600 on the SAT, a nationally recognized college entrance exam. That’s right, 12-year-old conquers college entrance exam.
“I don’t know what it feels like not to be smart,” she said.
Veronica is just an eighth grader at Boise’s Riverglen Junior High. She has completed 22 high school credits and has taken two advanced placement exams. She is enrolled at Treasure Valley Mathematics and Science Center and Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
“I enjoy learning because it keeps my brain challenged,” she said.
Veronica scored above the 95 percentile on a grade-level standardized test, making her eligible to enroll in Duke TIP’s Seventh Grade Talent Search program. The program gives academically talented students the chance to take college entrance exams, either the SAT or ACT, to help them learn more about their abilities. She was one of only 2,611 students recognized in the program because of her high SAT score.
“I felt confident on most parts of the SAT,” she said.
Veronica’s mother, Jamie Richmond, said her daughter has chartered a course that makes her happy.
“It was scary at first, I kept worrying that I was going to screw her up,” Jamie said. “I was against skipping grades, but I knew Veronica wasn’t being challenged.”
Veronica does not plan to graduate high school early. She wants to have the high school experience of participating in sports, attending dances and learning to drive with her friends. She has a five-year plan that includes advanced placement, dual-credit and online classes.
“I want to take my time,” Veronica said. “You only get to do high school once.”
Even though college is more than four years away, Veronica and her parents visit college campuses while on vacation. Veronica plans to apply to a prestigious college and study biology with hopes of landing a scholarship.
“Veronica writes science stories for fun. It is a pleasure talking with her because she always has a unique perspective and is very knowledgeable about many things,” said Janice Poppenga, a science teacher at Treasure Valley Mathematics and Science Center. “She also is a proponent for education and isn’t afraid to speak to large groups of adults about the importance of science education.”
Veronica enjoys cross country, high school quiz bowl, biology club, Boise State University math circles, skiing, mountain biking, bird watching and playing the clarinet. She also started a food drive at school.
“Veronica is like a ray of sunshine with so much warmth and promise,” said Tiffney DeVries, a teacher at Riverglen Junior High School. “She has a strong voice and character and inspires me each day to want to be a better teacher.”