Lilly Langway might not quite understand what it fully means for her just yet, but the Myrtle Beach Elementary fourth-grader was recently accepted into MENSA.
“I like math because there is always a right answer,” the 9-year-old daughter of Drew and Mary Madison Langway said, adding that she likes to solve the problems.
MENSA is an organization founded in England whose members all have exceptional IQs in the top 2 percent of society.
Her parents didn’t even realize being in the society was a possibility.
“What I think is really cool is that I didn’t think kids this age could even be in MENSA,” Mrs. Langway said.
The family recently moved Lilly from a private school to MBES, looking for more challenging work, her mother said.
Mrs. Langway said Lilly took the COGAT test, which is administered at the elementary level to determine whether or not a child is qualified for placement in classes for the gifted and talented.
“The results came back and she scored in the 99th percentile,” her mother said. “She’s bright, she’s very good in math. Math is her thing.”
Her Gifted and Talented teacher, Andrea Rowhel, told Mrs. Langway that Lilly’s score was pretty rare, so they started looking into some different societies, and MENSA was one of them.
“Oh my gosh, I was so excited. It’s such an honor. She absolutely deserves it, she is truly exceptional. I am so fortunate to be able to be her teacher,” Rowehl said.
While Lilly has not been given an official IQ test, the COGAT test is one assessment whose results are accepted by MENSA, and so they decided to go ahead and submit Lilly’s scores to see what happened.
Lo and behold, her scores were approved.
In the math program that elementary school students use to practice math called Aleks, Lilly, a fourth grader, is working on seventh grade algebra.
Although Mrs. Langway said she did well in school, she wasn’t sure where Lilly’s math prowess originated.
“She didn’t get it from me,” her mother laughed.
What she did get from her mother is a strong legal heritage. Her mom, two uncles, Preston and Thomas Jr. “Case” Brittain, and grandfather Tommy Brittain are all lawyers with the Brittain Law Firm. She is also the great-granddaughter of the Rev. Thomas “Tom” Brittain, who formerly pastored Conway’s First United Methodist Church. Her dad works in commercial real estate with Keystone Realty.
Lilly still doesn’t quite comprehend what being a member of MENSA entails.
“It [getting accepted] didn’t really mean anything to her, she goes about her life the same,” her mother said, saying that she and her husband tried to explain how special it was.
“Honestly she was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’”
Mrs. Langway said MENSA has connected them with other people in the area in the society, and they told Lilly she can put the designation on applications later in life. She even has a business card saying she’s a member.
Her teacher said she was pleased to hear the news.
“This is so incredibly awesome for her,” said Sarah Hall, Lilly’s homeroom teacher. “This was Lilly’s first year in public school. We sat down and talked about Lilly as a student, the incredible kid she is, and figured out the best route to getting her streamlined into Gifted and Talented. I’m super happy for her that she was able to get on.”
In addition to Lilly’s skill for math, her mother said she really enjoys being outside more than anything else, just being active.
She is also a competitive swimmer, and enjoys playing softball.
“I told her I might even let her do her schoolwork outside, she loves it so much,” Mrs. Langway said.
Knowing what she is capable of now, Mrs. Langway said that the MENSA designation is a double-edged sword for Lilly, and jokes that she can’t do a halfway job on her schoolwork. They make sure she always puts in her best efforts.
“She’s the whole package. [She is] so kind to her peers, such a role model. She has a bright future,” Rowhel said.