Carlos Soria-Garcia has the mind of a budding scientist, says New Hope Academy sixth-grade teacher Jacilyn Goodwin. Carlos was Jacilyn’s student during the 2012-2013 school year. He flourished in all areas but took a special interest in science, she explains. “He was a diligent student and demonstrated a vivid curiosity during lab experiments.”
Carlos graduated from New Hope Academy last year and was accepted to Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA), Nashville’s college preparatory school for young men founded in 1867.
“Carlos is a bright and hardworking student, and we were thrilled to connect him and his family with MBA,” says Cathy Irwin, New Hope Academy’s director of admissions. “New Hope’s small class sizes and rigorous sixth-grade curriculum, along with Carlos’ desire to excel, laid the foundation for his success.”
Matt Kimball, an English teacher at MBA, has observed Carlos blossom this year into a remarkable young man. “He is incredibly polite and always on task,” Matt says. “I would take a dozen boys like Carlos every year if possible. I am proud of his work ethic, his desire to succeed and his attitude.”
Carlos’ math teacher, Dan Cooper, adds: “Carlos is a soft-spoken and kind young man who has adjusted to the rigors of MBA very well. Through hard work and attention to detail, he has become one of my top students. His quiet personality and approachable demeanor have made him not only a popular boy but a respected one.”
NHA’s sixth-grade teachers are intentional about preparing students for the challenges of middle school, and MBA’s Director of Admissions, Greg Ferrell, says this shows in Carlos’ organizational skills. “Middle school is about learning time management, and Carlos has succeeded in doing so,” he says.
Because of his good grades and disciplined study habits, Carlos has made MBA’s Privilege List, which excuses him from a mandatory study hall and allows him to use a free period to play chess or visit the library.
Carlos believes the knowledge and training he received at New Hope prepared him to succeed at MBA.
“Some of the concepts we learned in science this year are chemistry basics I learned previously at New Hope,” he explains.
As a former high school physics and chemistry teacher, Jacilyn has helped create a customized curriculum for sixth graders
that exposes them to the latest advances in science.
For example, most middle school kids learn about the four states of matter during their unit on chemistry. Yet Jacilyn takes it a step further, introducing her students to Bose-Einstein condensates, the so-called fifth state of matter.
Three U.S. physicists were the first to create the condensates and won a Nobel Prize in 2001 for their achievements.
“That information is not even available yet in middle school textbooks, but I want our students to know about it,” Jacilyn says.
Additionally, she uses many of the same materials and lab experiments from her high school teaching days, adjusting the lessons to a sixth-grade comprehension level.
What stood out to Carlos about New Hope was not only the learning but also the care and compassion of his teachers. “They took time with students to talk about their problems,” he says. “They also made learning fun. I feel that New Hope prepared me for where I am today.”