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Home Life Gets Credit For Academic Success Thirteen-Year-Old Becomes Sophomore At Boise State

Sun., Aug. 13, 1995, midnight

Thirteen-year-old Ravi Gupta of Boise talks excitedly about what he has been reading.

Shakespeare. Homer. Emerson. The Hindu spiritual text “The Bhagavad-Gita” - in English and Hindi. Ancient Sanskrit.

It is an impressive pile even for a graduate student.

By Friday, when his last summer classes end, Ravi will have racked up four A’s for 12 credits at Boise State University. He will be a college sophomore by the end of 1995.

He credits his home life for his precocious academic success. It is an environment steeped in a love of learning, a devotion to the Hare Krishna religion and the culture of India, where his parents were born.

“Behind everything is this rich mini-India that is in our house. It gives me a purpose in life,” Ravi said.

His mother, Aruddha Gupta, taught Ravi at home, starting in third grade, focusing on reading, writing and mathematics. She also teaches Ravi’s 11-year-old brother, Gopal. When she is not teaching, she runs Govinda’s Restaurant.

Ravi’s father, Arun Gupta, a product manager at Hewlett-Packard Co., helps with secular and religious training.

Boise State officials balked at allowing a then-12-year-old into an honors English class last spring. But Ravi’s talents would not be denied.

“We made an exception in his case,” said Steve Spafford, dean of admissions. “He’s brilliant in so many ways. He has beautiful language facility.”

He will be the only 13-year-old at BSU this fall. Last year, six students 16 or younger sought degrees there.

Ravi said he doesn’t feel like a drudge. He has friends his age, and plays basketball and swims.

Gopal also shows talent, reading three levels above his age.

Ravi and his brother are fluent in Hindi, and are learning Sanskrit.

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