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Jefferson County student excels in and out of the classroom

November 19, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - While his first-grade classmates at T.A. Lowery Elementary School were just beginning to grasp the basics of math, Keith Preston Berkeley was doing long division.

By the time Keith reached second grade, the now 15-year-old was in a gifted math program.

When Keith became a sixth-grader, his parents asked school officials for permission for their son to take a readiness test for high school algebra.

"I think I missed two questions on the whole thing," Keith said.

Keith ended up taking high school algebra in sixth grade and earned mostly A's in the class.

Keith has wowed school officials with his smarts and this year at Jefferson High School, the sophomore is taking an advanced-placement world history class.

Enrollment in that class allows Keith to take a test to qualify him for college credit. Keith is also taking an honors science class and an honors English class this year, and he figures his unweighted grade-point average is about 4.0.

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Teachers who have Keith for a student say it's not just his intellectual abilities that set him apart from other youths.

They say Keith is a well-rounded student who has a good sense of humor but knows where to draw the line on using it. And he is eager to help other students, which is not always the case with exceptional students who sometimes "get caught up" in academics, teachers said.

"It not just about getting A's. It's how he conducts himself," said Jeremy Wilt, who teaches Keith's pre-calculus class.

"He definitely will go places in the world. What he aspires to do, he will accomplish," said Marcia Stengeo, who teaches Keith's honors English 10 class.

Keith has varied interests, too.

His parents, Keith and Laura Berkeley, have a farm in the Leetown, W.Va., area, and Keith has shown livestock at the Jefferson County Fair for about 10 years.

After graduating from college, Keith said he would like to return to a rural or suburban area where he can continue to raise livestock.

As for a career, Keith said he would like to pursue computer engineering, adding that he is fascinated by how computers are constructed.

Photo by Dave McMillion

Keith Preston Berkeley, 15, is a standout student at Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va. He also has shown livestock at the Jefferson County Fair for about 10 years.

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