Former TNCC Dual Enrollment Student Auditions for New Trivia Show Featuring Gifted Kids


Published: November 16, 2009

Former TNCC dual enrollment student Grace Duval is in the running to be a contestant in Mark Burnett’s new trivia show that features gifted children who are experts in a specific subject. Mark Burnett Productions, the company responsible for television shows such as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice,” is casting the new program.

As part of the audition process, Grace has completed several telephone interviews that included trivia questions covering English literature and Humanities. The upcoming audition will include a video interview. Filming for the show will start in December and the program is slated to premier early next year.

Grace was a 10-year-old homeschooler when she was accepted into TNCC’s dual enrollment program. Classified as a tenth grade student, she enrolled in College Composition I and II at TNCC.

Grace caught the media’s attention after her essay, “And the Winner Is…” was published in the January 2009 edition of the Mensa Bulletin, a national publication distributed to members of American Mensa. American Mensa is an organization for people with an IQ in the top two percent of the population. Grace was accepted into the organization at age 4 with an IQ of 159. Her mom, Natalie Duval, thought the organization would be a perfect fit for Grace.

When Grace wrote “And the Winner Is…” for her College Composition I class at TNCC, Assistant Professor Diana Martin encouraged her to submit the essay to the Mensa Bulletin. “(I admire) Professor Diana Martin, my first English teacher at Thomas Nelson Community College,” Grace stated on her application for the upcoming show. “She was a phenomenal teacher and encouraged me to submit one of my papers to be published.”

Learning at home afforded Grace some enriching experiences. She studied French with help from her father’s family, reads at least three to four hours each day and plays both piano and violin.

After considering sending Grace to a public high school, her parents decided to try TNCC’s dual enrollment program. TNCC seemed ideal for Grace. “It’s a wonderful place because it’s not so scary. There are small classes and good individual attention. I feel like, in some ways, it’s a better education,” Mrs. Duval said.

Grace adjusted to the college environment with ease. “The first time I came to class, everybody asked me how old I was because I was much younger than everyone else, but the second time I came to class, I was a little less of a freak,” she said.

Her mom credits that quick adjustment to the diversity of the classes at TNCC. “At college, everybody there is different. In high school, she would have been more of an anomaly. The people at Thomas Nelson have been very helpful,” Mrs. Duval said.

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