In 1972, an intrepid group of teachers and students at New Trier High School (Winnetka, IL) formed the Center for Self-Directed Learning. Each student would design their own program instead of following the daily grind of standardized courses with off-the-shelf textbooks, canned lectures, and, of course, the all-important final exam.
Approximately 600 students took the plunge into the unknown during the Center’s 10 years. Now, more than 35 Center graduates look back on their experience, each of them writing about why they left the standard curriculum and joined the Center, what they did in the Center, and how the Center has affected their adult lives. Among the graduates who contributed memoirs are Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Oscar-nominated actress Virginia Madsen.