published Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Chattanooga boy gets all TCAP math problems correct

East Lake Elementary fourth-grader Tiryq Thomas takes a sixth-grade level reading test with teacher Felicia Banks on Monday. He is one of 12 Hamilton County students to score a perfect 900 on the math portion of the TCAP, the state's standardized test.
East Lake Elementary fourth-grader Tiryq Thomas takes a sixth-grade level reading test with teacher Felicia Banks on Monday. He is one of 12 Hamilton County students to score a perfect 900 on the math portion of the TCAP, the state's standardized test.
Photo by John Rawlston.
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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."

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about Kevin Hardy...

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 ...

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Congrats to this young man, and his mother for raising him right!

September 13, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.
quietreader said...

What a great example for other young people in this area. Congratulations Tiryq.

September 13, 2011 at 8:31 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Nice! Good job little dude!

September 13, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.
WEBMAN said...

WAY TO GO YOUNG MAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AWESOME JOB.

September 13, 2011 at 8:48 a.m.
djwnln said...

Keep up the good work Tyriq...and TFP, we need more success stories like this.

September 13, 2011 at 8:52 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

I agree djwnin. Maybe more success stories like Mr. Tiryq could help to inspire other youth. Especially our young males. They get such a bomb rap and seemingly always portrayed in a negative light. This story is so uplifting and inspiring. There are more potential Tiryq's out there than we give them credit for.

September 13, 2011 at 9:15 a.m.
chatttn said...

Great job Tiryq! Keep up the awesome work! It's always nice to hear about success stories like these. We don't get them often enough.

September 13, 2011 at 9:34 a.m.
eastridge8 said...

Great, Great job Tiryq...I hope you have a wonderful life! I know your Mother is so proud of you! You are a wonderful example of what staying in school,away from drugs and out of gangs mean...

You will be a true success and one that your family and all of Chattanooga can point to with pride! Congratulations on your hard work!! And Congratulations to your Mother for raising such a fine young man...Thank you, Ms. Brewster.

September 13, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
ChattaVol06 said...


Here's a math equation for you:

Responsible, Caring Parents + Kid with a desire to learn and succeed = Success

Hope more parents can instill this in their children with the current and future generations of young children.

September 13, 2011 at 10:50 a.m.
phoenixx said...

Congrats to this young man! However, I'm sure the other outstanding students that scored the same would appreciate being acknowledged for their success as well.

September 13, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
harrystatel said...

Tiryq, you and your mother have proved the value of personal responsibility and self-determination. Keep reading, exploring, and forget the naysayers that will attempt to bring you down.

Congratulations to you, your mother, and the teachers who have helped you take control of your young life.

Great things await you young man, and I hope to read of your future successes. And don't forget to play and have fun!

September 13, 2011 at 3:15 p.m.
ndbrewster said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement. I am so proud of my son! He sat here as I read your comments and we both shared smiles. He has been such a joy in my life since the day he was born and I look forward to what the future holds for him!

September 13, 2011 at 8:53 p.m.
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