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Chicago Gifted Community Center

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Welcome to our blog.   Please note that this page is open to the public, so any comments made by members will be visible to the general public also.  At this time, only members can make comments to the posts. 

  • September 07, 2021 9:27 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    IMSA (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy) STEM Leagues are mostly asynchronous courses designed around a hot topic in STEM, and may include a book read, documentaries/TED Talks, case studies, and other source or research material, with a culminating chat with an author or expert in the field.

    IMSA STEM League received the 2020 Innovative Student Program of the year award from the National Consortium Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS).

    STEM League: Genetics (9/13-12/3)

    Grades 8-11

    This 12- week, mostly asynchronous course is intended for motivated, independent learners who are interested in taking a closer look at the recent developments in the field of genetics, with a special emphasis on gene therapy and gene editing. The ethical considerations of these powerful tools will also be considered. A variety of media sources such as readings, videos, and online tools will be explored, evaluated, and discussed. Over the course of this program, we will read The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It, a narrative nonfiction book by Dr. Ricki Lewis, a geneticist, science writer, and educator. The course will culminate in a live, online, interactive session with Dr. Lewis. The time commitment is roughly 3-5 hours per week.

    STEM League: Ethics of STEM (9/13-11/5)

    Grades 7-10

    In this 8-week online course, participants will be challenged to try and answer a few of the top quandaries of 21st century STEM: 1) Should humans try to geoengineer (a.k.a. climate engineer) the Earth?, 2) Is it okay to use animals in scientific research?, and 3) Are the potential benefits of conducting gain-of-function research worth the inherent risks that it comes with? Students will study curated resources (readings, videos, and thought-provoking lectures) to help inform them about the science underlying the topic at hand, so they are able to make an informed opinion on the issue. While most of the coursework can be accomplished asynchronously (i.e. according to the student’s own schedule) there will also be opportunities for weekly discussions/debates with fellow classmates and the instructor from IMSA’s Center for Teaching and Learning. The time commitment is roughly 1.5–3 hours per week and the (optional) synchronous meetings will take place every week on Tuesday from 4:30-5:30 pm, with open/drop-in office hours on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

    Both programs can be found at

  • September 01, 2021 7:11 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    From the Adler Planetarium web site . . .

    ’Scopes at the Adler combines everything you love about our neighborhood telescope program and brings it home to the Adler’s Doane Observatory, where the largest publicly accessible telescope in the Chicagoland area is waiting for you to look through its eyepiece. Join a small group of stargazers and the Adler’s public observing team to see the sky over Chicago like you’ve never seen it before. You’ll also learn how telescopes work and how to find bright stars and constellations using modern and historic tools—and you can try out a working replica of astronomer Galileo Galilei’s handmade telescope.

    ’Scopes at the Adler events are clear sky events only meaning tickets will go on sale the morning of the event when we are guaranteed good weather! CAPACITY IS EXTREMELY LIMITED (only 12 slots per evening), so you’ll want to follow us on Twitter @AdlerPlanet or join our Facebook Group to be the first to know when tickets drop.

    This program is recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets are $25. Ticket sales for this program are online only, and all ticket sales are final (no refunds). No on-site tickets will be sold. 12 tickets maximum sold per event.

  • July 22, 2021 8:04 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    From the Story Studio Chicago web site:

    Full scholarships available.

    Do you want to create your own magical world similar to Children of Blood and Bone or Harry Potter? Does the futuristic technology in Ender’s Game inspire you to write your own sci-fi novel? If so, you belong in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writing Club!

    Over the course of eight weeks, students will generate science fiction and fantasy pieces and workshop them with the help of their peers. They will learn the differences between the genres and read the works of notable authors. Our adventure will culminate in a party where students will have the opportunity to read their works aloud.

    Each class will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Central Time on Saturdays, and the course will run from August 21st through October 9th. Short readings or writing exercises may be assigned between classes.   



    • Mentor Readings: Students will read at least one piece of published creative work each class and discuss how it relates to craft and genre. 
    • Writing: Writing prompts will spark imagination, help break through blocks, and encourage new heights of creativity. After each class, Zac will have students send their work to him, and he will read, make comments, and return the work with feedback by the following class.
    • Workshopping: Students will share work and give feedback on what’s working well and what opportunities they can find in each piece. We’ll talk about where we can extend scenes and dialogue to push the narrative, how word choice can affect the piece as a whole, how to enhance the science fiction or fantasy elements, and how writers can find—and trust—their own amazing original voice. 
    • Showcase: Campers will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform their written work via Zoom. A link can be shared with friends and family members from around the globe; anyone who wants to tune in is welcome.

  • June 01, 2021 1:38 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    From the Institute for Educational Advancement June 1, 2021 email newsletter . . .

    Please join us for an exciting Summer Spotlight as we highlight IEA youth from across the nation in a virtual talent show! Students of all ages are invited to showcase their creativity, talent and innovation through short video clips. Acts may include musical performances (instrumental or voice), dancing, skits, poetry readings, original artwork presentations, magic, science experiments, fashion design, cooking or baking, athletic feats or anything else that ignites our students’ passion. Participants may submit their talent as a solo act, or join together for a group submission. We can’t wait to applaud our talented IEA stars! Parents, grandparents and other family and friends are invited to join in the fun as audience members for the premiere of IEA’s Summer Spotlight Talent Show on Wednesday, July 14 at 5:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time / 8:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. All participants will receive a small gift.

    All registrations/submissions are due by June 30, 2021.
    Click here to register!

    Invite your family and friends to the show! Send them the following link:
    Click here for invitations!

    Please show your pride in our IEA students with a donation in support of IEA’s programs and services for gifted youth.
    Donate today!

    Questions? Please contact us at
  • April 30, 2021 12:43 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    From the April 30, 2021 Illinois Association for Gifted Children Quarterly Newsletter:

     2021 IAGC Scholarships:

    Applications Due June 18, 2021

    Funds and recognition available

    for Students and Educators!


    Nominate a Student or Colleague for a Scholarship Today!

    Each year, the IAGC provides 2 $1000 student scholarships and 5 awards for educators and  community members with outstanding service or outstanding contributions to the field of gifted and advanced education. All award winners are recognized at the annual IAGC Conference.

    Of special note this year is our new Promising Projects Equity Award. This award provides up to $500 to support an educator project designed with an equity lens in mind and differentiated to meet the needs of underrepresented gifted students. Award funds may be used to purchase materials or pay for field trips and project-related expenses. 

    Student Awards:

    The Carol Morreale Scholarship: This $1,000 award is given to a student in grade 1 through 8 who has demonstrated excellence in language arts or math. 

    Distinguished Student Scholarship: This scholarship provides up to $1,000 to support a student in grade 9 through 12 in an academic endeavor. 

    Educators and Community Member Awards

    Promising Projects Equity Award: This award is given to support an educator with a project/projects specifically designed with an equity lens in mind and differentiated to meet the needs of underrepresented gifted students and may be used to purchase materials or pay for field trips and project-related expenses. One award will be given each year, not to exceed a total of $500.

    Mary Ann Paradise IAGC Conference Scholarship: One scholarship is awarded each year to parents, educators or other school staff members who work with gifted children. The award provides a complimentary one-day registration to the IAGC Conference.

    Ruth Wright Professional Development Scholarship: This award was established in 1996 to provide financial support to members of IAGC who currently work in the area of gifted education. Named for early founder and first IAGC president, Ruth Wright, the award provides a complimentary one-day registration to the IAGC Conference.

    Sally Walker Distinguished Service Award: This award is given to an individual who has been in the field for more than ten years and/or IAGC for at least four years and has shown evidence of making major contributions with lasting impact on the field of gifted education. 

    Bonnie Park Leadership Legacy Award: This award recognizes an individual who works tirelessly as an advocate for gifted students. Nominees should demonstrate service excellence, going above and beyond to make a significant impact on the lives of gifted students. Application Deadline: June 18, 2021

    For more information and to apply, visit the IAGC website!

    Scholarships and Awards Webpage

  • April 25, 2021 8:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ChiTeen Lit Fest is a for-teens-by-teens gathering that aims to provide a safe and creative space for young adults to unlock and discover their unique voice through literary arts. ChiTeen Lit Fest seeks to bring together young people from across Chicago and celebrate their talents as they express themselves through exceptional and honest art. The festival is a virtual event, for teens 13-19, and it will take place the week of May 16-22, 2021. For more details, please see here and for registration, please go here

  • April 25, 2021 6:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Cinema Chicago has just announced the most expansive CineYouth Festival lineup yet with 102 international short films streaming virtually from May 6-13! Plus, for the first time ever, CineYouth will be open to audiences around the world. Tickets remain free and open to the public, so join them for the 16th CineYouth Festival!

    This year's selection spans 14 short film programs presenting a range of genres and themes including family-friendly animation in Playtime, international comedies in You Havin' a Laugh?, and Lights, Camera, Lockdown, a selection of films made during and responding to the pandemic as experienced around the world. Watch the CineYouth 2021 trailer to preview more of the program!

    For more details about this free event, please see here

  • March 02, 2021 1:04 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    March's issue of Symmetry, dimensions of particle physics magazine contains an article on DIY physics demos.

    From the article,

    Missing visits to the museum? Or in need of some home-school activities? Check out these five do-it-yourself physics demos!

    Read the article here.

  • February 18, 2021 11:18 AM | Deleted user

    World Science Scholars, an initiative of the World Science Festival, is a two-year program that fosters and sustains a vibrant community of outstanding math students, esteemed professors, and dedicated teaching fellows. Together, they grapple with challenging ideas and explore new disciplines in which to apply their abilities. Scholars have the unparalleled opportunity to interact directly with leading experts and join a long-lasting community of peers and mentors. 

    This program is free and open to students aged 14 - 16.  Applications are due by April 15, 2021.  


  • February 12, 2021 1:52 PM | Pamela Shaw (Administrator)

    The No Malice Film Contest - The No Malice Film Contest creates a platform for Illinois youth and young adults, ages 11-21, to explore the topic of racial healing using the medium of film. The competition is co-hosted by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. Deadline for entries is April 30, 2021.

    The New York Times 2nd Annual STEM Writing Contest - Ages 11-19 attending middle or high school can participate. Students choose an issue or question in science, technology, engineering, math or health, then write an engaging 500-word explanation. Contest Dates: Jan. 19-March 2, 2021.

    CyberStart America - A national program of online challenges that allow high school students to act as cyber protection agents, solving cybersecurity-related puzzles and exploring related topics such as code breaking, programming,networking, and digital forensics. March 8, 2021 is the cutoff date to qualify for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition through CyberStart Game - participants need to complete at least 20% of Game to qualify.

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The Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by parents to support the intellectual and emotional growth of gifted children and their families. 

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