After years of dealing with the social hardships often associated with being academically gifted, three Israeli high schoolers decided to take matters into their own hands by launching a virtual community for academically oriented youth.
Three 11th grade students at the Biasa high school for arts and sciences in Jerusalem -- Noa Chen, Nir Yaron and Kedem Shanir -- decided to launch a social network for gifted students after conducting a survey among 200 gifted youth in Israel, which found that 45 percent were dissatisfied with their social lives. Some 83% said they would be willing to join a social network tailored for outstanding students.
Encouraged by the response, the three teenage entrepreneurs decided to create a social environment their peers would feel at home in. The result was "Nemo" -- a Hebrew acronym for "interested and thoughtful youth." Once it is up and running, this virtual community will feature forums encouraging interpersonal ties between users, monthly meetings and educational conferences and projects.
"When we established the team and started to work on the project, I saw in Nemo the person I was a few years ago, or my little brother today," Yaron said. "There was a demand for this and the time has come to pay attention to it. It's not always a given that you will find friends you connect with, and for me, Nemo is a sort of dream come true."
The project is meant as a volunteer effort, and in its early stages it will be directed at students in sixth through ninth grades. The funds to create Nemo are being raised through Internet crowdsourcing.
Nemo has already attracted the attention and contributions of such organizations as the Israeli Center for Excellence through Education, Microsoft, Hebrew University and Cisco.