In the presence of genius?

My daughter and I had lunch this week-end with a friend and her daughter.  Sarah and I worked together at American Family five years ago.  Her daughter Annie is a Senior at Madison East.    Annie is brilliant , genius.   Just sitting and talking with her for the couple of hours we did I just kept thinking ‘wow’.     She has been accepted into three of the best colleges in the United States.   Now I consider U.W. Wisconsin as one of the best maybe others do not.  But she has been accepted into  U.W. Madison, Princeton, University of Chicago and she has interviewed with Harvard and feels very good about the chances of getting in to Harvard.   Harvard. .   IF she does not get into Harvard she is picking the good  old U.W.

But she is a different kind of kid.  She takes college level calculus, she is currently getting a A- or A

at this term but she is not happy.   She goes for two hours of tutoring after school for calculus , then goes to work for until 9 p.m. , at the U.W. .. She is not happy with herA or A-  in Calculus so she is going to retake it her freshman year in college where ever that ends up being.

I asked her what if you end up with a A+?      She wants a better understanding of it.     WOW.  Most would take their A or A- and run.

As we talked , she talked about still having 60 problems left of calculus to do for home work.   As her mom reminded her ” you will be ready for college.”    She had , had 5 pages of calculus for over the weekend and got it down to only 60 problems left.    This is college level work, and college level home work.

Do not forget about her other classes.    She also interned at the U.W. this summer and has to give a presentation at the U.W. this week on that, besides her high school work, plus she works.

The sad part of her story is , her dad died this last September.   For some kids it would have completely derailed them.   But she is driven.

I told my daughter she would give a lot of your teacher’s a run for their money.   Because I have no doubt there are teachers she is smarter than.   It happens where the student is smarter than the teacher.

Annie has always had goals.  I remember when working at American family with Sarah her talking about how Annie wanted to work for NASA.

I told Annie and Sarah this week forgot about working for NASA,  you will be running NASA at the rate she is going.  If there is still a NASA by the time she gets done with her schooling.

How many of you think that the Evansville School district prepares their students for college the way Annie has been prepared.   I do not even think they begin to come close.

I have had families here in town complain about their kids not being prepared for college , and what a shock it was for them.  In so many ways.

I try to keep in mind that Annie has been doing college level work most of her high school career.

But I know in my son’s class there were quite a few kids who never went to college or went and dropped out.   Smart , Smart kids.

Evansville needs to figure out why that is , and what they can do to improve the rate that their students go to a college, and stay.

I told Annie yesterday that I will look forward to the day when she is running NASA and I can say ” I knew you when.”     I also told her it would be nice if she would still take my phone calls after she becomes head of NASA but I will understand if she does not.


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