whiz tackles college life
MSU students, every day is casual Friday. Some are wearing jeans
and a T-shirt while others slum down to sweats. Britton Sauerbrei
is dressed casually. He is sitting in the corner of the student
center wearing a green, plaid shirt tucked into his khakis. A mountain
of books surround him – logic, American government and general psychology.
His face looks like a razor has never grazed it. Sauerbrei is taking
12 hours. He’s a full-time college student. He’s also 16 years old.
Sauerbrei is one of 53 high school students taking classes at MSU
concurrently. He is one of eight home school students attending
MSU. He has been home schooled his whole life. Critics of home schooled
kids argue they don’t get the same quality of education that public
school kids do. Sauerbrei completely agrees. “Home school is a better
alternative than the negative impact of socialization which is to
teach to the lowest common denominator,” he said. The decision to
home school came from his parents who home schooled both of their
children. “We just thought we were responsible for his education,
and if we had more control, we could give him an environment where
he wanted to learn,” his father, Alan, said. Britton’s education
has been like Whataburger, made when you order it. “They were able
to tailor the curriculum to my needs,” Sauerbrei said. “I could
be self-paced, and if there was a subject I needed more time on,
they could devote more time to that, and if there was something
I was faster at, I can just get through it.” A typical day began
around 7:15 a.m. when he woke up and read the paper. He says it
that was important, for him to “see what’s going on in the world.”
He would go to his desk and work on math problems, then writing
assignments. There was a lot of reading involved. He worked most
of the time on his own, unless he needed some help with math or
science where he’d turn to his dad, who works in computers, information
technology. It sounds like a lot of isolation being home schooled.
Britton had to self-teach himself a lot of material. His life had
all the ingredients of living like a monk. The only time anyone
was brought in from the outside world was when he needed a tutor
for Latin, history and English. He had to take the SATs before enrolling
in MSU to see if he could handle the classes. He earned a 1400.
He tested out of college algebra, and plans to CLEP out of American
history. Where many college students have a problem with attending
classes and studying more than they did in high school, Sauerbrei
has made a smooth transition. “My parents have instilled in me a
love of learning, and that helped me in college,” Sauerbrei said.
“I don’t really have a problem with procrastination because they
got me interested in learning.” The stereotype is that home-schooled
kids are locked in their house and don’t get much chance for socialization.
Just because there’s no prom doesn’t mean there’s no social interaction.
The Wichita Falls Home School Support Group organizes social activities
and sports. “I did get used to interacting with people of different
ages, adults, elderly people and people in my peer groups, and I
am enjoying interacting with college students,” he said. Though
he seems remarkably mature for someone who just got their driver’s
license, he’s still very much a kid who enjoys playing role playing
games and computer games. Britton has a younger brother who’s also
been home-schooled who will probably start taking classes at Vernon
next year. His brother is more interested in sports than philosophy,
literature and humanities. Sauerbrei has been flying solo in classes
for most of his education, but those days will soon be over. At
this Indianapolis 500 tempo, he will graduate high school a year
early. He plans to stay at MSU, and then get his masters at Texas
A&M in organizational psychology. He will probably home school his
own children when he grows up and gets married, he said.
When most people think of wrestling fans, the following words come to mind: loud, obnoxious, mullet, big gut and beer drinking. Brady Collier is none of those. But he is still a huge fan. The 21-year-old MSU senior has watched wrestling since he was about 3 years old when he would sit next to his dad. Growing up, he proudly wore an Ultimate Warrior backpack. One year, for Halloween, he transformed himself into the Ultimate Warrior. He also hosted several wrestling matches in his back yard. “Almost every day when I was little I would dress up and get on the trampoline with my Hulk Hogan wrestling buddy,” Collier said. Wrestling, he admits, was, is and always will be an obsession. “I may have got made fun of, but I don’t really think about that, and I don’t really take anything seriously,” Collier said. Collier owns a wide array of wrestling memorabilia—videotapes, DVDs, books and action figures. “I had the complete set of 12 (action figures) as soon as they made them,” Collier said. They include Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Ultimate Warrior and the Million Dollar Man. He once had all of his 60 action figures lining the walls. “Since I’ve moved I don’t have a place to display them effectively, so I just have an entire wall devoted to posters,” he said. Collier has even tried to contact a few of his favorite wrestlers. He sent a get-well card to Hulk Hogan when he was injured in a storyline. “I got a post card back that said, ‘Thanks for keeping me in your prayers, brother. Hulkamania will be running wild soon,’” Collier said. His sending of fan mail isn’t limited to his childhood years or traditional means of postage. “About three months ago I tried to e-mail Sean Michaels to encourage him in his spiritual life, but I never got anything back,” Collier said. Sean Michaels is Collier’s favorite wrestler. “My dream would be to meet Sean Michaels and have a conversation about what Christ has done in his life,” he said. Collier is a youth intern at First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls and plans to attend Dallas Theological Seminary upon graduation. Collier dreams of being a “booker”—a person who writes the storylines and picks who wins. Although Collier enjoys other sports and is an avid UT fan, something about wrestling keeps his eyes riveted to the mat. Critics of wrestling don’t faze Collier. He thinks the wrestlers are just as athletic, if not more so, than any other athletes. “While it may be predetermined who wins, the athleticism is still very present. I also enjoy the entertainment aspect of wrestling,” Collier said. Collier has attended several live wrestling events including RAW in Austin; an untelevised house show; a fully loaded pay-per-view in Dallas, and a show in Wichita Falls at Evangel Temple. The match at Evangel Temple was the first and only time Collier has met a wrestler in person. He met Million Dollar Man. Not only is the humanities major a devoted watcher of wrestling, he also grapples, usually with unwilling subjects. “I can do wrestling moves like the Figure Four Leg Lock, and the Million Dollar Dream. But as it says on the show, it is very dangerous and I don’t recommend performing them at home,” Collier said, smiling. Collier is not worried about anyone getting hurt because he says he knows what he’s doing. He didn’t need any professional training to learn the moves either. “I learned them by watching countless hours of wrestling,” he said. Collier has never thought too seriously about becoming a wrestler. Part of that is due to the fact that he never works out or lifts weights. Collier could have, perhaps, had a job in the industry though. “About a year ago there was a job opening for a WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) referee that I thought about applying for, but I figured I was so qualified I would get it and I really didn’t feel like moving and abandoning my ministry here,” he said. Collier is also a fan of MTV’s show, Tough Enough. The show trains people to be wrestlers and eliminates them until two are left to participate in the WWE. “I thought it was a great way to get the wrestling industry exposure behind the scenes and show that it’s not all about being fake,” he said. “It’s really a strenuous job, and I thought it made for some of the best television I’ve ever seen.” Although Collier loves wrestling, he would change one thing if he could. “Right now I wish that a second federation would come and present more of a challenge to the WWE. It would force them to be more creative, whereas right now there’s a monopoly and they don’t seem to be trying very hard,” he said. Even though Collier may not fit in with the stereotypical wrestling fan, he sees this as an advantage. “It’s a hobby that’s not very common among people involved in church and it’s a great way to branch out and communicate,” he said.