Four Hungarian students are attending the summit meeting in Dublin

The ECHA Conference is organized for the sixteenth time by the European Council for High Ability between 8 and 11 August 2018. One of the most interesting facts about the conference is that the organizers provide gifted students the opportunity to attend the III. Summit Meeting of the Youth Platform of the European Talent Support Network. We have spoken to the Hungarian students attending the event.

The community simply known as Youth Platform was established by the European Talent Support Network in 2016, right after the I. Youth Summit in Vienna. The young people attending the first meeting wanted by all means to continue the work they started in 2016, thus, they let more and more interested students from various nationalities join the European Youth Platform online. A year later, the International Networking and Talent Spring Camp was organized, coordinated by MATEHETSZ (Association of Hungarian Talent Support Organizations) and the European Talent Centre of Budapest. The camp hosted the II. Summit of the Youth Platform, which was attended by 64 participants and 10 companions from 17 countries and 20 different nationalities.

Just like before, delegates from the European and Associated Talent Centres are sent to the meeting in Dublin, selected from applicants of each European Talent Point. Supported by the European Talent Centre of Budapest, the following four Hungarian students will travel to Ireland: Laura Gerzsei, Lilla Harangozó, Ádám Pálvölgyi and Olivér Norton Szabó. They will be accompanied by Zsuzsanna Szilágyi, office manager of the Talent Centre. The students were selected through an application process in order to attend the event.

Laura Gerzsei and Lilla Harangozó joined the Youth Platform community a year ago. They are about to graduate from the Garay János Secondary School in Szekszárd. Apart from that, they both attended the II. Meeting in Budapest. They had, however, been participating in talent support programmes long before. “I've been entering contests ever since I was in elementary school, my teachers gave me extra lessons in Hungarian grammar and literature, English, I. T., and later on, History. I took part in many contests and was successful in many cases. I've also been playing the clarinet for 10 years, and I joined the local Junior Brass and Reed Band 6 years ago. I have received national and international qualifications with the Band, and have performed at local events and festivals in Germany. Community has always played an essential role in my life, that's why I've been a Student Council Representative for 12 years and President of the Student Council in both elementary and secondary school. I also worked for the local Junior Council as a representative for 2 years, then as Vice Mayor for 2 years. I'm currently a coordinator and mentor, and I've represented students on a local and national level.” - Laura tells us about her previous experience. Lilla has also gained similar experience ever since the first few years of elementary school: “As my school was a Talent Point, I had the chance to participate in many talent-supporting events, at first in subjects like Hungarian, Mathematics, and English, then, as I grew older, Chemistry and History followed. I have entered many recitation contests in town and in the county, and I was successful in many of them. In 2014, I represented my school at the Meeting of the Talent Support Council of Tolna County in Bonyhád, where the participants shared ideas and plans in order to improve talent support in the county. I didn't break contact with my previous school when I entered secondary school – on the contrary, I became a so-called mentor student. I helped organize various contests and trips, and gave advice to younger students on improving their skills and achieving better results.”

They both are very excited about the meeting in Dublin. As they say, their motivation is to meet participants from the previous year; apart from that, it is a great opportunity for them to gain professional experience, while learning about new ways to improve education and talent support and meeting many other students.

Ádám Pálvölgyi and Olivér Norton Szabó also attended the 2017 meeting in Budapest – in fact, Norton participated in the I. Summit Meeting in Vienna as well. Ádám is currently taking his matura examinations in order to apply to a university; he is planning to become an architect. “I have first heard about these talent support opportunities a few years ago. I participated in a 3D animation course organized by the Talent Point in Kállósemjén in 2016, and later, I gained some experience as a teacher in the KIDE Organization. (…) I applied to participate in the meeting in Budapest in 2017, that was when I joined the community. I agreed to lead the Youtube Channel Project back then, which I've been doing ever since.” Ádám created a video montage about the events of the Youth Platform, and had short interviews with internationally recognized talent supporters who shared their thoughts about talent support and the Youth Platform community. (The Youtube channel of the community can be found here.) Ádám hopes to create similar content during the 2018 event. “Meeting my friends I got to know during the previous Summit Meeting is my main motivation, alongside with the fact that I have an opportunity to meet other members of the Youtube Channel Project in real life. Working on videos together in real life will make the project much more effective. I'm also planning to organize a short workshop discussion for project members and for those who wish to join the project.” Olivér Norton Szabó is a member of the same project, and also leader of the team responsible for organizing the meeting in Dublin. The goal of the so-called Summit Organisational Team is to cooperate with the Irish organizers and discuss the planned programmes and the most important necessities and questions of young students. Norton has a very unique and funny story about joining talent support. “I joined the local Talent Point when I was 7 or 8 years old. To be honest, I have no idea how I ended up there – it was probably my mother's fault. Thanks, mom! We were mostly playing board games and telling riddles there. I loved it! (…) Years later, in 2016, I successfully applied to the Hungarian Templeton Program, where I had a variety of talent support courses to choose from for a whole year.” As for his interests, Norton finds science fascinating: “Making science, especially physics, popular is a cause worth fighting for. Astro- and particle physics can be populrized the most, and these are the fields I work in now.”

Apart from preparing for the event, these Hungarian juniors are keen to put the essence, the “key” of talent support into words for themselves and their peers. According to Laura, “the essence of talent support is to find and embrace juniors who are talented, no matter where they live or what background they come from. They have to be given an opportunity to improve and learn. They have to be helped to find success and joy in their fields and in the things they love doing. I have seen amazing role models among my supportive teachers. Similarly to them, I would like to motivate children and teenagers; also, I would like to work at a workplace that helps juniors to find their goals and dreams, and make them come true.” Lilla confirms all this: “In my opinion, the basis of talent support is enrichment, which not only means to learn compulsory material, but also to improve knowledge-based skills. Talent support should not revolve around expanding knowledge only, but around developing a multifaceted personality. I think the definition of a clever and a talented child is often confused. In my view, recognizing talent plays an essential part in the process, because that is on what the goals and methods of personal improvement are based. At the same time, personal improvement, e. g. motivation, self-consciousness and flexibility should also be stressed in talent support. Personally, I'd love to play an active role in the support and development of talented juniors, either at home or abroad. I will try to motivate my children and the people around me to aim for improvement and to try to expand their horizons in a way that suits them best.” Both Ádám and Norton agree: they want to return something from the opportunities they have got so far, let it be in the form of a Youtube video, popularization of science, or simply building relationships with other people.

This reflects the main aims of the Youth Platform community: recognizing and providing opportunities for talented juniors, helping talent supporters, giving feedback to teachers in various topics related to education, starting cooperation and new initiatives within and out of the Network, and of course: creating a respectful and diverse community. Let's hope that the meeting in Dublin will be an excellent platform for these aims, and that our Hungarian students will return home with a great experience.

Talent is a special kind of natural resource that is available in every country.