Young Students Prepare for Boarding at Mathematics and Science Academy

Article excerpt

Byline: Dale Duda Daily Herald Correspondent

As sure as bargain-filled newspaper circulars herald the coming of a new school year, students are racing to prepare themselves for that first day back.

But for some students, piled along side the folders, pens, calculators and gym shoes, are alarm clocks, bedding, toothbrushes and vacuum-sealed snacks. Some DuPage County high school sophomores will pack to go away to school, much like their elder counterparts, college freshmen.

They're headed off to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, where students are required to board as well as attend accelerated math and science classes.

Fifteen-year-old Antonia Sargeant of Carol Stream spent the better part of a day shopping with her mother for clothes, lamps, an answering machine, cleaning products and toiletries. She said she's excited about starting her new life at the academy. "I think it's pretty neat; I can't wait to go," said the soft-spoken teen.

Established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1986, the residential IMSA serves 650 students, grades 10 through 12, who are talented in mathematics and science.

Antonia, who has been away from home before for a few weeks - a summer program at the academy, among others - said she's not too concerned about the adjustment of living away from home. It's her mother she's worried about.

"Mom will be upset when I go. She'll miss me, but she'll get over it."

"I won't get over missing her," jested Lashaune Sargeant, "but I'll have to adjust." Her main concern is the fact that Antonia won't have her own computer, but she's confident the academy will be able to accommodate her daughter.

"We're all looking forward to it. I can't see anything but good coming from this," said Lashaune Sargeant.

While Rachel Mackenzie of Glen Ellyn considers her acceptance at the academy an honor, she's not sure her decision to attend was the right one. …