I have been living in G.T. Camelot –a special place that has been exciting, joyful, and meaningful --a place that insured good memories for students, their parents, and our community; a place that grew gifted kids. Fortunately, I always realized this; I never took it for granted, especially after I witnessed program after program discontinue many G.T. pull-out classes --first those for secondary students and then those for middle school students. Programs that once immersed identified students in affective development and creativity were replaced with academic programs. I am a strong supporter of Pre-AP and AP, recognizing the needed rigor and challenge it brought to gifted students who met a curriculum requiring their best; however, AP is not a gifted program. Weiner’s program (due to its small size) is a microcosm of what could be and what should be, for each gifted student regardless of their age. It is a place that honors creativity and agrees with Einstein when he said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” While I was in Japan, participating in the Fulbright Program, I had a conversation with Japan's Director of Education where I told him that educators in the United States envied Japan's continuing high scores in mathematics and the sciences. He smiled and said, "We in Japan admire the pragmatism of the United States. Our students are focused on the one correct answer and do not have the skills to seek many solutions, many ideas --something crucial if Japan is to continue to succeed." Creativity. Our gifted programs insured that older students continued their growing of creative thinking. I wonder what the cost is of leaving that behind?
I also grieve for the end of affective development for the gifted student right at the time when it is most needed –the teen years. Despite their remarkable talents, the negative characteristics of our gifted students –whether it be perfectionism or a lack of organizational skills –have the potential to inhibit what Carl Rogers called the “self-actualized person.”
The future of our small school is bleak as families who relied on farming as a way of life are forced to move where the jobs are. The school will close and secondary kids will, in all probability, lose their secondary G.T. program. Arthurian scholar Norris J. Lacy once commented that "Camelot can be anywhere." I believe G.T. Camelot should be everywhere.