As she progressed from grade school to middle school to high school, her desire to learn more grew as well.
Although she read all the textbooks she was supposed to read in her class and got good grades, she still wasn’t academically fulfilled. She soon realized that she was ready to learn things taught in higher grades.
One day, she seized the initiative and approached her high school principal about her situation. After she expressed her feelings and frustrations, he leaned back in his chair, looked outside and felt the warmth of the sun shining through his office’s windows. After pausing for what seemed like an eternity to the young woman, the principal spoke. His response was both thrilling and disquieting. He said:
“I’ve been watching you, and I’ve seen you reading and learning wonderful things that don’t seem to interest the other kids. I have to say, I am so proud of you, and for the love of learning you have. I have no doubt you are going to go far in life.
Now, we have an accredited program just for kids like you. It’s a curriculum that’s custom-made for you. That means you’ll have to keep attending this school and taking the same classes as all the other kids. There will be no quitting school, understood? But after school, you’ll be able to log on and study at your own pace, as fast and as far as you can handle. This also means that, provided you pass all your personal curriculum tests, you’ll get to graduate early, and with college credits, too.
But I need to warn you of two things:
First, I don’t know of any other kids in our city who are taking this online course. You’re one of very, very few. So, if you want to interact with other kids just like you, you’ll need to seek them out and find them. You’ll probably succeed at this, but you’ll find they live in other cities far away from ours. So, don’t be surprised if some days, you feel alone.
Second, about the other kids here in our school: they are just as special, and just as wonderful as you are. But they will have a difficult time relating to you, and understanding why you’ve chosen to study a more customized, accelerated program after school hours. They will think you’re weird, maybe even a freak. In fact, not only the kids, but even some of the teachers here in our area may call you names and will question your motives.
On the flip side:
First, you will learn things about people, places, nature, even the universe that will excite you, maybe even take your breath away. And although your mom and dad can’t take the special curriculum tests you’ll have to take, you’ll be able to tell them all about what you’re learning, and they’ll be thrilled to see how their little girl is growing up. I mean, really thrilled.
Second, not today, and maybe not this year, but over time, a few people here in our city may see a little gleam in your eye and a smile on your face. They’ll be genuinely curious about why you’re so happy and beaming. Those are the people who will be ready to hear about your after-hours online school.
I can’t tell you what to do — this is your decision.”
As the girl sat in her chair across from the principal, she heard a song softly playing on his radio behind his desk (click the YouTube link below to hear the song, or go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz32I_GbpeU)…
As the song was ending, the girl got the message. She looked outside…
felt the warmth of the sun on her face…
and with a little gleam in her eye…
she smiled a huge smile.