A Gifted Group Reunites
Mary Baldwin College's Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) is the only all-women's residential college program for teenage girls in the US. Basically, students skip all of high school and enroll in PEG after (usually) their 8th grade year.
The program has now been around for about 20 years. The school staged a reunion recently, which was covered in the Staunton, VA News Leader in an article by Christina Murphy.
The first young women to attend PEG are now in their 30's. They have entered a variety of professions in addition to raising families. A book about them called "Lives of Purpose" is forthcoming (note to the researchers whose findings will be presented in the book: Are you still looking for a writer?)
Anyway, I find the subject fascinating. These young women, like the young people discussed in the Dropout Nation post, decided not to attend high school for whatever reason. Maybe they were ready for a new challenge. Maybe they were bored, or maybe they didn't fit in well at regular high schools. Skipping high school is almost sacrilege in this country that worships Friday night football games, proms and the like. In a fractured culture, high school is the closest thing to unity we've got. These girls sailed over it.
Like the USA Today All-Star academic teams, there's a word of caution. I'm sure we'll discover as we read "Lives of Purpose" that we haven't heard of any of the first cohorts of PEG women. That's the problem with justifying such programs by claiming they'll produce the leaders of the future who will cure cancer and write the Great American novel, or what have you. Very few people do these things. The chances that the "very few" segment overlaps with the PEG segment of individuals is low.
But, these women have had fairly happy, successful lives. That fact, in and of itself, indicates that high school is not always necessary. Something to think about.