What I did While Your Children Attended High School
My education began formally, with lunch boxes and purple ditto sheets. I was set free when I was seven -- not just from the school building, but from the notion that I could learn only what was given me to learn, when the powers-that-were deemed I should learn it. Since then, I have been the power-that-is, designing my schooling around my own interests. (The audience is much more receptive this way). That's not to say I've avoided subjects crucial to a well-rounded education, but if I wanted to spend six months studying the Arthurian cycle, I did; and if I wanted to race through algebra as fast as my calculator could compute, I did that, too. I did not take tests, I did not receive grades, I did not whittle down what I was studying until it fit into a traditional subject offered in high school.
Most colleges use high school transcripts to see what prospective students have been doing the last four years of their lives. Here is what I've been doing:
As a volunteer for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, I worked initially in areas normally staffed by teens, but quickly moved to temporary-exhibit galleries, where touring exhibits from across the nation are featured. I've been involved in several special projects, including building exhibits for area libraries. I co-chaired the advisory committee, which oversees and guides the teen volunteer program. I also served on the activity committee, where I helped put together museum tours (Fort Worth has a unique concentration of museums, with four in a one mile radius), lock-ins, and trips to Shakespeare in the Park. Though I am now a graduate of the program, I still attend meetings as an advisor, and am a member of an alumni group which mentors younger volunteers and works to produce special programs.
I interned in the museum's History Department for over two years, primarily in the archives. It's hard to describe my duties there, as they changed from week to week. During my internship, I did everything from identifying and cataloging ancient human remains to restoring a robe with a 14-foot train worn by the Fort Worth Rodeo Queen in 1926.
In April 1995, I joined the Science Club, one of the oldest programs at the museum. Though I was interested in science, I was probably more interested in evening the sexes. (The club was almost exclusively male when I joined. Now the male to female ratio is about 1:1, though sometimes heavy on the female side.) Science Club has been a wild, wacky experience, and I doubt I could make a short list that would describe my activities there with any accuracy. In brief, we've...