Emilyn Cristina or “Em” and husband Johanne Francis have mixed emotions in sending their daughter Renee Dominique “Renee” Mata Castillo to the Justo Lucban Elementary School in Manila. After all, who says sending a seven-year old to Grade 5 –in yet another school – is easy?
Em, who works in the Supreme Court-Office of the Court Administrator, says she is trying her best to raise Renee, whose long attention span and independent nature became apparent when she was just six months old.
Bored When Not Challenged
Born on November 2, 2002, in Subic, Zambales, Renee went to nursery school at the tender age of three. In 2006, at four, she was in Kindergarten.
Her teachers noticed Renee was fast to learn new things and bored when not challenged academically. Rene was accelerated after only two months in Preparatory School and at age five to Grade 1. This moved her family to transfer her to the Only by Grace Academy (OBGA) in San Marcelino Street, Ermita, Manila.
After finishing Grade 1 in 2008, she was accelerated to Grade 3. As school year 2009-2010 drew to a close, Renee was once again First Honors. At this point, Em was encouraged by Renee’s teachers to have her take a special exam to qualify for Grade 5 in another school because OBGA has strict age requirements.
It was in February 2009 when Em took Renee to a development pediatrics doctor for a Pediatric Development Evaluation after her daughter’s teachers told her Renee “gets bored in school.”
Only six years and two months then, Renee’s evaluation results showed the chatty, endearing girl “can sustain her attention in challenging tasks.”
Renee’s pediatrician recommended that she be enrolled in an individualized educational program and be given advanced lessons. The same also referred Renee to a full psychometer evaluation – intelligence quotient, school ability, achievement, and personality evaluation – owing to her exhibiting “some signs of giftedness.”
High Test Results
Last May, Renee took the psychometer evaluation exams. Results show her 128 overall Intelligence Quotient score is “superior.” While she was only six years and six months old then, “her mental capacity is comparable to children who are 9 years, 4 months old.” Her Matrices’ score was comparable to those who are 16 years, 5 months old, her performance in Pattern Analysis to those who are about 12 years and 2 months old, the results reveal.
Technical Director Christabel G. Garcia-Chao, MD reports, “She told stories about her grandmother and about how she would compete with her younger brother in answering puzzle games. She was very spontaneous and animated while telling her stories. When reminded that they had to continue the testing session, she asked the examiner if she were trying to ‘trick’ her by saying that the activity was just like a game and not a real test.”
Personality-wise, Renee appears to be the enthusiastic and participating type of student, the test results reveal.
She follows rules at home and in school. She could be depended on to handle household chores such as folding clothes, washing the dishes, and making the bed.
Emotionally resilient, Renee appears calm and composed at most times. She, however, tends to feel affected and upset when faced by more stressful situations, the test results also show.
Naturally friendly, she is warmhearted and outgoing as most children. She readily cooperates in school activities. She is also imaginative and active in generating creative ideas.
Em is trying to raise Renee as a well-rounded individual. Renee, who has been taking ballet since she was three, is gunning for a ballet scholarship. Also, she is taking swimming lessons at the New YMCA Building Complex in Ermita, Manila.
Family of Doctors
Renee’s father Johanne Francis Castillo is a language trainor at the International Training Inc.
She comes from a family of doctors and lawyers. Her grandfather, her “idol,” is a cardio-surgeon.
Despite all these, Em does not treat Renee as a gifted child so she will always be humble. “I want her to feel may limitation (there is a limitation),” Em says.
Expressive Renee affectionately kisses and hugs her parents and her sibling. She often tells them “I love you. I want to thank you for everything…Thank you for the sacrifices.” Renee also says “Sorry kung makulit (if I am stubborn)” if she sees herself as so.
A thoughtful daughter, Renee broke her coin bank and bought her mom a cake and roses last Mother’s Day.
A Mother’s Advice
While believing that “every parent has his own way of raising his child,” Em stresses that “Discipline is important. As much as possible, maliliit pa, ipa-realize sa bata na mali iyon (at an early age, a child should be made to realize that a thing is wrong).”
With Renee already exhibiting the values of perseverance, enthusiasm, and a tough, fighting spirit at a young age, Em never fails to remind her: “Always do your best. Whatever happens, as long as you do your best, you will have no regrets.”