Jennifer Tilton, 14
Future study: Math, maybe architecture
Homework regimen: Two hours on weeknights
Hours of sleep a night: Generally, eight
Video games: None
Socially: “I fit in pretty well socially with all the other math nerds, whatever you want to call them.”
For fun and games: Swimming, Facebook, math competitions
Favorite TV: “Make It or Break It” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”
[Photo: Donna Victor]
Her life in the academic fast lane owes in part to her elementary school, the private Weiss School in Palm Beach Gardens, which let her start kindergarten at age 4 and skip first and fifth grades. She was 11 when she started at public Suncoast Community High School — one of the nation’s best, according to Newsweek — in its math, science and engineering magnet and its International Baccalaureate program. As a freshman, she took AP calculus. “She was always one of my top students and proved it by receiving a five on the AP calculus AB exam at age 12,” says teacher Beth Bobay, who’s a star herself, having won the Siemens Foundation AP teacher award for Florida for 2008-09.
Tilton acknowledges math came fairly easily. “It was like I learned it before,” she says. She’s good at memorizing and doesn’t procrastinate.
“I don’t think I’m better than anyone else,” she says. “Everyone’s good at something. I just happen to be good at something that’s really easy to show.” If it’s any consolation to the math-challenged, she says she’s no natural talent at swimming and has to work hard. She must be working hard enough. She is slated to be co-captain next year of the high school team and was named as an honorable mention pick to the girl’s all-area team by the Palm Beach Post.