Super Stars: Born, Created or Molded?

Have you noticed that a handful of super stars come out of the same high school class and then no one of note comes out of that high school again for some time? I started to notice a Graduatestrend along these lines, peak years if you will, when I considered my own high school. A few years ago we graduated the #1 draft pick to Major League Baseball and the #1 College Football pick – two incredible arms (Pitcher and Quarterback) coming out of the same high school class.

My class was an academic class. While we had some good athletes, plenty of Division 1 collegiate athletes, we didn’t send anyone to the pros nor did we have any “#1” picks. We did have 28 National Merit Scholars – more than 10% of the class. National Merit Scholars represent the top ½ of 1% of the nation’s “best and brightest.”

Another year we sent several folks to Hollywood and Broadway. Names you would recognize. It appears that we have peak years. This would make sense historically. In Charles Murray’s book, Human Accomplishment?, he spells out that the great human achievements from art to science to medicine are not random over time or over place. They cluster in both time and place.

This is strongly counter to the popular notion that diversity (as currently defined) leads to the greatest successes. So far I have data from one school, other schools are demonstrating a similar trend.  If you think your local high school or the high school you attended may show similar peak years of high achievers, please add a comment and I will contact your school for inclusion in the research. Thanks!

Image courtesy of Amanda

1 thought on “Super Stars: Born, Created or Molded?”

  1. I saw your graph on peak years and so wanted to find out more back information on it. This is really interesting! I’m looking forward to seeing what factors account for one year to be gaining achievement in success and then the next the arts or athletics.


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