A 5-year-old Linden girl dazzles with her intellect

By Ryan Cornell

LINDEN — Parents like to think of their child as smart. But in Harry Jackson’s case, he has statistical proof.

His daughter, Veda Jackson, 5, was admitted in December as a lifetime member of Mensa International and Intertel, which only accepts the top 1 percent of standardized IQ test takers.

On Wednesday, she was accepted into the Nysmith School for the Gifted in Herndon, where she will begin second grade next year.

Veda currently attends first grade at Merritt Academy in Fairfax and alternates weeks between living with her mom in Arlington and her dad in Linden.

The 5 year old scored in the 98th percentile for the first grade Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test and in the 99th percentile for her age range in the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence.

After taking an IQ test designed for children 3 to 7 years old, Veda measured at a 133.

In fact, Jackson said his daughter’s score could’ve easily been higher.

“She was distracted during the test because they had a memory test where she actually liked one of the pictures and focused on it,” he said. “I think her IQ could be anywhere to 137.”

He first noticed her above-average intellect when she was about 2 or 3 years old and was outshining her peers.

Soon enough, Veda was multiplying numbers at a third grade level when she was still in kindergarten.

“She just exceeded everyone’s expectations,” said Jackson. “She’s doing better and better each year, but we’re letting her go at her own pace.”

He said her teachers work hard to challenge her while providing the right social environment.

“The answer is not to give her more homework or put her with older children because the emotional and social development is just as important as intellectual,” he said.

He said he strives to keep her well-rounded while letting her enjoy being a kid.

In addition to exercising her mind at chess club each Monday, Veda takes taekwondo and piano lessons and plays lacrosse. She said she likes to color, the board game Trouble and likes to play with her pet turtle and three dogs. She said she also likes eating the crepes cooked up by her grandma.

Veda could be the face of a future world leader, but for now, she said she wants to be a ballerina.

“Do you want me to show you how I twirl?” she asked. “It’s very good. I can even twirl on my tippy toes.”

Jackson, who works in Washington, D.C., for the Department of Homeland Security, said he moved to Linden in 2012 for the family-oriented atmosphere and the view from his back porch. He said Veda has taken summer programs at the Mountain Laurel Montessori School in Front Royal.

The new school Veda will attend next year specializes in teaching gifted children and has about a 1:5 teacher-to-student ratio, he said.

“Instead of now, where she’s the youngest kid in class, she’ll be in a classroom with children her own age,” said Jackson. “But they have the infrastructure and programs where they can go all the way up to four grade levels above academically to where they are.”

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com