The subject of gifted and talented programs has been coming up, which reminds me of the story of Lamar Heston and the Superstars program. The Superstars program was a Southfield-Mayne Regional School District invention that took the brightest kids from each of the district’s elementary schools and, once a week, bussed them out to take an afternoon of classes together. West Oak Elementary School had four slots, two for boys and two for girls.

My older brothers are both in the same grade. There was no way that two brothers were going to be chosen for the two slots, so Mom didn’t expect both to get in. She wouldn’t have been surprised if neither got in. She was a bit surprised that of the two Truman boys it was the lower-achieving Oliver that got in rather than Mitch. Ollie was an achiever, but not in any standout sort of way. Indeed, the reason that he was in the same grade as his younger brother was that he was held back a year (for maturity rather than academic reasons, but still). That, however, wasn’t nearly as much of a surprise as the inclusion of Lamar Heston.

The main thing that you need to know about Lamar Heston is that the last time I saw him, two years ago, he worked at Wendy’s. And not because he was a Rick Rosner, not in a position of authority, and not because of any temporary setback. He wasn’t a terrible student, but he had some pretty serious behavioral and attitudinal problems. To say the least. Not only was he working at Wendy’s in his mid-30’s but nobody I know that knows him is surprised that he is working at Wendy’s in his mid-30’s.

Mom was baffled. She was actually somewhat indifferent to her kids getting into the Superstars program because she was concerned about our being too sheltered. But why Ollie over Mitch? And why the hell Lamar? The answer was pretty simple and you have probably already figured it out. Mitch was perfectly behaved and Ollie was a chatterbox with an attention problem. Oh, and Lamar was a disciplinary nightmare. Why the hell should the teacher put up with Ollie and (to a much, much greater extent) Lamar if she doesn’t have to? Lamar was black and possibly the only black kid there and there was nobody in the Superstars program that was going to single him out as undeserving of being there.

The next year Mitch and a similarly bright student were invited into the Superstars program. Mom declined.

When I was going through, they actually had three boys and three girls. The main reason being is that they couldn’t just accept the Weatherby Brothers and they couldn’t pick between the identical twins.

Category: Ghostland, School

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4 Responses to Lamar Heston, Superstar

  1. rob says:

    Why the hell should the teacher put up with Ollie and (to a much, much greater extent) Lamar if she doesn’t have to?

    That’s exactly why more objective measures of giftedness, retardation, ADHD than teacher assesments are necessary.

  2. Mike Hunt says:

    If this was a different blog, there would be many more comments.

  3. rob says:

    Wrong Cunt. If this were a different blog. We use the subjunctive tense for conditions contrary to fact.

  4. trumwill says:

    If this were a different blog, I probably would have left out the racial aspect of it. A lot of Half Sigma readers would pounce on that particular aspect. Regarding the more general topic of GT programs and the like, I suspect that didn’t elicit much in the way of comments because it was discussed pretty thoroughly last week.

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