Those naysayers who constantly tell us public schools are doing a pitiful job of preparing students need to spend some time with Taylor Rosenthal, a freshman at Opelika High School.  Chances are quite good that few of the naysayers were awarded a patent while a teenager or turned down an offer of $30 million for it.

Taylor Rosenthal has.

As an eighth-grader at Opelika Middle School, Taylor came up with the idea for a computerized vending machine that dispenses first aid supplies.  He was in a Young Entrepreneurs Academy class, sponsored by the local chamber of commerce, at the time.  Taylor came up with the idea because of his involvement in athletics.

Today he is founder and CEO of RecMed.  He operates the company out of a local business incubator.  The Six Flags entertainment group is interested in being the first buyer for his invention.

Oh.  About the $30 million.  A large national healthcare company contacted Taylor and his parents and expressed interest in purchasing his idea.  Taylor declined saying that he believes the company may be worth more in the future.

Carinda Jones is one of his former teachers and can’t say enough about this teenager.  “Extremely focused and does not mind asking questions until he comes up with the right answer“, she says.

Taylor has been recognized by Inc magazine as one of “20 Teenage Entrepreneurs Set for success.”

While Taylor is certainly exceptional, he is not alone.  As I travel the state and visit schools I see many examples of students doing amazing things.  But I never see any of the naysayers visiting these classrooms.