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2023 AAGT Board Retreat – What gifted treasure lies within you?

Collage of images of what each AAGT Board Member built at the August 2023 Board Retreat

Ask yourself – What gifted treasure lies within you? If that’s too big for a weekend morning, ask ‘What does giftedness represent to you?’

The AAGT Board of Directors usually meets virtually once per quarter to discuss current tasks and strategize future endeavors. Once per year, we come together to focus more on building the board as a team rather than focusing on the goals of the organization as a whole during our Board Retreat. This year, we met up in August to spend some time getting to know our newest board members and diving deep on our potential as individuals and as a team.

We start every meeting with a Connection Activity designed to loosen everyone up and, well, make connections. At our most recent Board Retreat, our Connection Activity was to use modeling clay to create something that represents an answer to the question ‘What gifted treasure lies within you?’ or ‘What does giftedness represent to you?’

Here’s what everyone built!


Two things come to mind when asked what symbolizes giftedness.
1.August Rodin’s “The Thinker”
2. Days doing projects during GATE Pullout as a student. (Pictured is a day I had to depict characters for a book made from scratch. Drawing faces was such a task in grade school so I chose to depict all characters from their feet up. Learning to see things from different perspectives deeply became such a joy that I still continue to do this today. In the photo are my clay models of “The Thinker’s” feet, Michael Jackson “Off the Wall”feet and The” Statue of Liberty’s” feet.
…. “Not all who wander are lost….. Some of us have to move and lead with our feet”…

Kimberly Zener

Mine was about writing a book.  I have it proudly displayed in my home office now.

Becki West-Keur

Giftedness comes with many adventures including overexcitabilities, intense complex feelings, and numerous big ideas. I made a figure to represent each of these adventures.


Music has always been woven through my life – from playing flute in marching band and oboe in concert band to continuing to play guitar and sing in church. So often we forget the talents our students have that indicate their giftedness in something other than academics.

Michele Thelen

I built a moment in time when my family was relaxing around a campfire in the mountains. Being surrounding by those I love is my happy place.

Helen Freeman

When I think of gifted, the first thing I think of is my family.  So these are my kids (in their favorite colors).  They’re all grown now with families of their own. One of the things we liked to do as a family is make music.  They are all musical and we enjoy singing together.

Rowe Van Meter

Description coming soon!

Stephanie Newitt

My sculpture of a bridge connecting a shorter mountain with a taller mountain represents growing the gift of leadership with the guidance of mentors (bridge with railing), then learning mentoring skills to pay it forward.

Heather Pace

Mine was referenced from the Family Guy quote “Dear Macguyver, Enclosed you will find a paper clip, a rubber band and a drinking straw. Please save my dog.” The gifted kids that excel at everything, get perfect grades and master anything they try are the easiest to spot. For me true giftedness shines when you have limited resources and you can problem solve and critically think through any situation.

Jessica Zimmerman
I created a book to represent my outlet of writing. Being gifted is like an unopened book. So many people may judge the book by its cover. They can see the title “gifted” so clearly and may even make assumptions before even opening the book. Once you open the book, or get to know gifted, that child’s unique story unfolds. They still are “textbook gifted” in the different ways they interact with the world with their creativity and unique perspectives, but they uniquely write their own stories and it’s up to us to help them own and write their adventures.
Taylor Nakakihara

I built a bomb, a stick of dynamite, and a flashlight – getting the news that your kid (or you, as an adult) are gifted or neurodivergent can feel like a bomb went off in your life and created a huge mess. But, with the flashlight, you can sort through the rubble to find new opportunities and gifts.

Want to reveal more treasures? Come to AAGT Parent Institute on September 9th

AAGT invites all parents/caregivers to join us on an exciting adventure that will reveal the  extraordinary treasures within your gifted and talented child. Together we will discover a world of awe-inspiring abilities, boundless potential, and exceptional brilliance waiting to be explored. Through insightful panel discussions and captivating presentations, we will empower you to fully understand and embrace the unique gifts your child possesses. Together, we will navigate the pathways of their remarkable minds, nurturing their talents, and guiding them through emotions and self-advocacy. Don’t miss this annual event, where we celebrate the brilliant gems that lies within every gifted and talented child and equip you with the knowledge and tools to help them shine brighter than ever before.

Register for Parent Institute



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