Austin has been getting interesting things in the mail from different places the last couple of years. Last year, it was People to People...a group that takes student "ambassadors" to different countries to learn and live in those cultures. My little sister went to Australia with them and loved it. You have to maintain a certain GPA and test scores in order to even qualify to be a part of the group. You have to be either nominated by a teacher/counselor or referred based on GPAs and test scores (ie, ITBS). Last year, he was offered to go to Canada for two weeks. We declined...he would just be entering 6th grade and we figured the oppurtunity would present itself again if he was meant to do it, when he's older. And with the Asperger's, it would be difficult for him to be away from us for that long.
This year, he was once again referred to People to People, this time it was to Australia and longer. We are declining again, we just don't think he's ready. Both oppurtunities have come to us with his former last name. I thought it was just a People to People thing.
Then Saturday, we recieved an invitation for him to submit his biography to Who's Who Registry of Acedemic Excellence - Middle School Edition. I was a little shocked, but also intrigued because, once again, it came under the old last name.
I don't really want him to miss out on these oppurtunites because of a clerical error (for one thing, Who's Who offers scholarships), so Icalled Who's Who to ask them how to change it. They changed it in their system, but then told me I needed to call the registry and change it, so all companies had his correct name. Apparently, his name is already, in sixth grade, on a registry of America's top students, based on his test scores and GPAs. It's a little overwhelming to think that someone somewhere is watching my son's test scores and grades and he is being offered phenominal things because of it. It's also a lot of pressure to put on him at this age. He knows about the People to People offers (he's seen the letters), but he doesn't know about the Who's Who thing yet. I really don't want him to pressure himself even more than he already does.
What's fascinating to me is that we already expect so much out of kids. They have to know so much to even get into preschool these days...it's rather sad. By middle school, Austin has been concerned about college for over two years. Two years! At age 12! It's outlandish. Yes, there is nothing wrong with wanting your child to do their best and really apply themselves. But they also shouldn't have to worry about being on some list and falling off that list if they fail to test well at some point. I almost wish these companies would back off until at least high school...if not even just your senior year.
I am very proud of Austin for doing so well, I don't want to say that I am not with all this. I just wish kids had more time to be kids.
Yes, I am going to apply for him to be in the Who's Who publication. Steve was in it in high school and I think it is an honor. He's always said it was "no big deal." I happen to think it is and I think it's fantastic that they profile those kids that do work their hiney off.