News and Tribune

August 5, 2008

Three Clark County high school juniors to start at gifted and talented high school

By TARA HETTINGER

Getting easy A’s isn’t the track Troy Crawford, James Hendrick and Dylan Wilder want to take. The three Jeffersonville residents and high school juniors all opted to go to the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, a school for gifted and talented high school students, this fall.

Now, the three are doing their final preparations to move to the residential campus in Muncie.

“I’m kind of running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” Peggy Wilder said of getting her daughter packed for school. “I’m trying to not think about the fact that she is going to be gone. It’s just so surreal in itself, thinking about getting my high school junior ready for a dorm.”

Dylan, 17, was attending Presentation Academy when she was accepted to the Indiana Academy. Crawford, 17, and Hendrick, 16, were Jeffersonville High School students.

Now, the three will live at the school for exemplary students, which is on Ball State University’s campus, to finish their junior and senior years of high school. The academy has a wide range of courses, aimed at keeping the interest of students, such as Chinese, quantum chemistry and Watergate.

Melissa Hendrick, James’ mom, said she almost threw the letter from the school away.

“I didn’t think he would ever want to go there. He’s so popular and they don’t have football or wrestling, two sports that he’s lettered in,” Melissa said. “And I didn’t want him living away from home. But, I’m glad I didn’t (throw it out). I was surprised at how excited he was about it.”

She said she plans on leaving tonight with her son and his belongings in the car to move him to his new home away from home. On Wednesday, she will be on her way back to Southern Indiana, without her 17-year-old.

“At first, I had a lot of anxiety about him going away,” she said. “I mean, I thought I had two more years.”

She said after multiple visits to the school, she realized that this is the right thing for her son.

Knowing that doesn’t make it much easier, Peggy Wilder said.

“I woke up [Monday] morning and my stomach was in knots and I just felt like I was going to throw up,” she said of getting ready to pack her child to move.

She said she spent a little time reminiscing and going through elementary pictures and awards her daughter earned before getting down to work.

“That’s my baby and she’s going away from me,” she said, recalling her thoughts as she went through those items.

But more than just packing items, Marie Crawford is trying to get her son, Troy, prepared for the other challenges he will face.

“That’s been an adventure, educating him on how to do his laundry,” she said, laughing. “I bet some things are going to come (out) discolored.”

Troy and James have been friends since seventh grade. The two plan on rooming together at school.

Troy said that living situation should make the transition to living on his own easier.

“I’m just excited to go and see what it’s going to be like,” Troy said of starting school. “I hope to go in there and keep my good grades going and hopefully get a scholarship and find out what I want to do after high school.”

Dylan said she already knows what she wants to be: a pediatrician. She said she’s thinking about going to the University of Notre Dame.

“[Going to the academy] is just a really good educational opportunity and I feel like it will prepare me a lot more for college than I could get at any other school,” Dylan said.

She said the school will also help her transition to college socially.

“I think it will be really neat to share a room with someone and meet different people and to learn to live with all those people,” she said, adding that she’s never shared a room in her life. “That will make it easier in college, too.”