Always getting good grades, but bored and frustrated with the amount of busy work he had to do in school, Ben decided to leave school to pursue his interests in electronics, computers and nature. With the flexibility and support to pursue his interests in his own way, Ben was able to intern with a local tech start-up company and at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, while also partnering to start a company that produces computer servers.

Ben works as an engineering technician at a lighting manufacturing company in Trenton, NJ.

Linda and Pete, Ben’s parents, describe the beginning of Ben’s journey at PLC:

We found PLC by accident – an associate of ours knew how unhappy our son Ben was in his traditional middle school. She also knew of a pilot program that was starting in September 2010 called the Princeton Learning Cooperative. Although we were hesitant to pull Ben out of the local public school system, it has been the best thing we have done for Ben since he started school!

No one in our family ever attended anything other than local public schools. In fact, we were quite successful and happy in our public school upbringing (way back when!). Well, times have certainly changed. Ben was coming home from school very stressed and frustrated. Homework time was agonizing for everyone, not just for Ben. Along with all the changes in becoming a teenager, he was very unmotivated by his schooling. He would often talk about how they spent several months doing work which just prepared them for state testing. Ben was an honor roll student and had been in the Gifted and Talented program since 3rd grade. He has a keen interest in computers, electronics and robotics; however, these subjects were not being very well addressed in our school system.

All of these things have changed since joining PLC! Ben is the happiest he has been in a long time and feels virtually no stress as a member of the program! He gets to focus his studies on his computer/robotics with the help of PLC’s staff while still learning what we all need to know in order to be successful and productive members of society. I often spend time at PLC when I drop off Ben and have learned so much as well! The director, Paul Scutt, has brought in many mentors who share his passion for teaching/learning and Ben has greatly expanded his vocabulary, is reading the newspaper now, learned geometry thru origami, and knows how to play chess! This is in addition to his other studies at PLC. Ben is also spending his Wednesdays volunteering at Snipes Farm in Morrisville, PA with a PLC volunteer who has been mentoring him in many areas including English, Literature, and Life Skills. Ben has also learned how to make a mean apple pie!

Ben will be continuing with PLC in the fall of 2011 and we look forward to each day now with the chance to learn something new. You never know who might show up at PLC and what you might learn that day! If parents have a son or daughter who is struggling in traditional schools, we highly recommend that they look into what PLC has to offer – it can truly be life changing. It has been for our family.