Nearly everyone agrees that Tiryq Thomas is a high-achieving student. And now, he's got the numbers to prove it.
Tiryq, 9, was one of a few Hamilton County elementary school students to receive a perfect score on last spring's third-grade state math test, the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program.
Of the thousands of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders who took math assessments last year in county schools, about a dozen received a perfect score of 900, said Cheryl Ladd, the school district's testing and data coordinator. She said a few perfect scores are common each year.
Administrators at East Lake Elementary recently surprised Tiryq with a trophy and an assembly to announce his perfect score.
"I was dumbstruck," he said. "I couldn't believe I'd done that."
A fan of math and science, Tiryq, who's in a gifted class, already has his mind set on becoming an engineer. While he didn't study specifically for the TCAP, he said he tried to pay attention and listen in school.
"It is a very, very long test. So to get that score on such a big test, that is just shocking in an exciting way," he said. "I can't even use words to explain."
His mother, Natasha Brewster, said Tiryq always has been a good student. Instead of asking questions, he's the kind of kid who will go look up the answer online or in a book, she said.
"He's very resourceful," Brewster said.
While he likes playing sports and video games, his mom said he's always had a certain sense of sophistication. She pointed to his habit of tucking the newspaper in his backpack at school and bringing it home to read back-to-back.
"He reads the newspaper like an adult," she said. "It's very funny."
E'tienne Easley, East Lake's family partnership specialist, described Tiryq as a "very, very good" student.
"He's an articulate little man," she said. "He's been that way since preschool."
Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...