It wasn’t until the end of her tragically short life that Thea Leopoulos first discovered the depth of her talent as an artist. A buoyant, beautiful girl with dark eyebrows and sharp brown eyes, Thea spent her childhood believing the experts who first told her, back in third grade, she was unworthy of acceptance to the local program for “gifted and talented” children. Since then, Thea had struggled in her coursework and felt uninspired by a stream of classes that focused too much on academics, and not enough on other forms of learning, like the arts. Then, in her junior year of high school, she produced a finger-painted portrait of B.B. King and removed any doubt of whether or not she was talented. Soon after, her capacity to excel in every area of her life changed dramatically. She had discovered a new source of confidence and calm. She had found her path. A few months later, she was killed by a drunk driver. Along with 400 others last week, I learned about Thea’s story at a statewide conference of Oklahoma educators titled Faces of Learning: The Power and Impact of Engaging Curious Minds. On hand was Thea’s father, Paul, who