Monday, October 8, 2012

Terrific teens and their big brains

The lead of the story said "What were you doing when you were 14?"
It got me thinking about life 30 something years ago and what I was doing - riding my dirtbike, playing hockey and figuring out that girls really weren't icky after all.
Pretty typical stuff I would imagine. My friends were all doing the same thing so I assumed that is what you did at 14.
However, my teenaged antics were put to shame by some modern youths.
Teen No. 1 went beyond typical high school achievements - way beyond.
It would seem the young man in Texas has invented a contraption that attaches to a bicycle that when peddalled desalinates seawater via reverse osmosis. One hour of pedalling produces 20 gallons of drinkable water.
Wow, and my parents were proud when I brought in a solid C in science class.
This next lad is comes in at the ripe old age of 15. The genius in jeans came up with a medical procedure that has doctors around the world sitting up and taking notice.
According to the news story, the young man from
Maryland, "created a test for pancreatic cancer that is demonstrably much faster and more accurate than current diagnostics by using carbon nanotubes that can be specially activated by applications of the signature pancreatic-cancer protein, Mesothelin."
I had to look up what half of that stuff was, but before I could get a good understanding of the concept I was distracted by a shiny object.
Now, let me think. What was I doing when I was 15? Still riding dirtbikes, playing hockey and chasing girls. When I was 16 I was driving a beat up little car, riding dirtbikes, playing hockey and chasing girls. When I was 17, well you get the idea.
Those are some pretty amazing kids. My parents were just happy if I did not get a police escort home on a Saturday night.
This next one is not about brilliant kids, but bonehead administrators.
The controversy surrounds a four-year-old with hearing challenges. His name is Hunter and he is proficient in using sign language, which make sense considering he can not hear.
What doesn't make sense is how officials reacted to the way he signed his name. Because his name is Hunter, his fingers make the shape of a gun which violates the school's anti-weapon's policy and his parents were told he would have to stop doing it.
I hope his parents showed the administrative uptights what they thought using a little sign language of thier own. The parents were understandably shocked at the school's response and have launched an official protest.
Having grown up with a sister who has physical and hearing limitations, I understand how important any form of communication can be. My sister used sign language and I knew a few words so I could connect with her. Without that sign language, my sister had her communication with the rest of the world effectively shut off.
Now little Hunter is being told he can not sign his own name. How is a four year old supposed to figure that out?
He can use sign language for regular communication, he just can't tell anyone what his name is.
I am all in favour of anti-violence rules in schools, but this seems a little over the top.
The last story I read on the subject was the parents were fighting the school and the boneheads, er, I mean, administrators who are hassling a kid who has enough challenges in his life already.
Good luck to them.

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