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Subject:  HELP A YOUNG MIND                                  10:00 AM

  If you hate sob stories, stop now.  This post is going to be unusual for
this list, but it does invlove paleontology.
  I have a young (15 year old) friend who is so intersested in prehistoric
life that it has interfered with his school to a drastic result.  He has not
gone to school in a year, and recently his parents were legally forced to put
him in a residence school.  If you're still reading this than you're about to
hear the whole story.
   The boy, we'll call him Sid, is the youngest child of a very wealthy
family.  His father is a doctor and is in his late fifties and his mother is
a useless ex-hippie who does nothing.  They pretty much ignore him, as they
did their other children ( who are all disturbed somehow)  and show their
love by buying him fossils.  They spend, annually, almost $60,000 on the most
rare and incredible specimens available.  For those of you who hate this kind
of thing I'm sorry.  His collection is jaw-dropping amazing.  He spends his
days looking through books and studying his specimens and making notes.  His
fascination goes beyond "T-rex is cooler than raptors" state of mind that is
expected from most young dinosaur fans ( I said most , not all you little
whipper-snappers).  He does not fit in at school, because he's too grown up
for his age.  Mentally he thinks about the world as an adult does, but at the
same time has to deal with all the crap that a 15 year old boy does.  He does
not do well in school because of some kind learning disorder.  Apparently
that was enough for his parents to make sure he never goes to school again,
and as mentioned before led him to his current situation in a legally
enforced residence school.  He was so angry at the world because all he
wanted to do was study dinosaurs.  I've told him that he is blessed, most
people don't know what they want to do with their lives, and his parents
could put him through any college he wanted to go to.  He just needs to get
through school.
  What I need to know from all of you out there, is what does he need to
excel in in order to get into college for paleontology?  Is there any kind of
programs available for kids like him to help him achieve his goal.  I've
asked him what would he do if he couldn't be a paleontologist, and he replied
 ''I'd sell fossils I guess".  I know he wouldn't be happy doing that, and
neither would a lot of you.  His parents do not care and certainly are
willing to ignore the consequences.  The police arrested Sid's father at work
in the hospital as a result, and then after being given a certain amount of
time to get him in school, they ignored that too until another legal  action
was taken.  I just saw him this weekend, and I think he realizes that his
future is  at hand.  He told me that out of the 40 kids in his class, he's
the only one who knows what he wants to do with his life.
  So, those of you who read this, and can do some good or offer advice, let
me know off-list. I would really appreciate the help in this really
frustrating situation.
  David Krentz
Walt Disney Feature Animation