Star of Movie Gifted, NASCAR Driver Headlining Education Convention


Mckenna Grace, who played a child prodigy struggling to receive the services and support she needed to achieve her full potential in the movie Gifted, will be coming to Charlotte to headline a panel on gifted and talented education as part of the upcoming National Association for Gifted Children 64th Annual Convention (NAGC17), November 9-12, at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Grace, who has appeared in a number of movies and television shows during her 11-year life including Independence Day Resurgence,Designated Survivor, and the upcoming I, Tonya, will join a special NAGC17 panel targeted toward parents of gifted children and focused on the real-life challenges her character faced in the film.

Screenwriter Tom Flynn, who wrote Gifted while staying at a North Carolina beach house in the middle of winter, will join Grace on the panel as well as renowned family psychologist Sylvia Rimm.

The Gifted panel discussion will be held Saturday, November 11 from 10:30 to 11:45am in the Charlotte Convention Center Ballroom.

“The movie Gifted has spurred a national conversation on the needs of gifted and talented students, helping bring much-needed attention to this long-overlooked population of learners,” said NAGC Executive Director M. René Islas. “We are absolutely thrilled that Mckenna and Tom are taking the time out of their packed schedules to join this special panel and help continue raising awareness about this most important issue.”

Grace and Flynn, who gained inspiration for Mckenna’s character from his sister and two nieces, will address the challenges Mary, Mckenna’s character, encountered in the movie, challenges that are all-too-common for many families of gifted students.

“We are looking forward to a lively and engaging discussion about the challenges facing gifted children and their caregivers and how we can help them reach for their personal best,” Islas said.

NAGC17 will get off to a roaring start on Tuesday with Austin Cindric, who drives for Brad Keselowski Racing and competes full time on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Cindric will talk with students from Charlotte’s Piedmont Middle School onTuesday, November 7, 12:00pm, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, after they take part in a STEM learning experience. Cindric will build on that and talk about the importance of teamwork in racing.

Piedmont’s principal, Jackie Barone, has been recognized as the 2017 NAGC Administrator of the Year, and she will receive the award during Thursday’s general session (10:30am, Convention Center Ballroom).

Other keynote speakers of NAGC17 include Duke University’s Angel Harris, an expert on the role race plays in the achievement gap between students from minority populations and their non-minority counterparts, Backyard Brains co-founder Tim Marzullo, and North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson, who welcome NAGC17 attendees, as well as facilitate a discussion among school superintendents focused on what these leaders can do to support gifted learners.

Additionally, on Saturday the convention will host the popular Family Day, presented by Family Day is a free event that helps parents learn the ins and outs of raising a gifted child and provides students with exciting and interactive programming. The Family Day program includes the panel featuring Grace and Flynn.

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