James LeSage and his sister LeAnne are like most children. They love to play at the park and are typical siblings.
But what sets the old Naples pair apart is they are some of the youngest members ever of Mensa, a society for extremely intelligent people.
James is 6 years old and LeAnne is 3. His birthday is in August, LeAnne’s is in November.
According to the organization’s rules, membership in Mensa is “open to persons who have attained a score within the upper 2 percent of the general population on an approved intelligence test that has been properly administered and supervised.”
James LeSage took the test and found out he qualified for membership earlier this year. LeAnne took a different type of test for preschool children, which lasted more than two hours. The parents are not allowed in during testing. Her parents found out July 25 that she was accepted. Their parents did not want to reveal their IQ scores, but revealed they did score in the top 2 percent of the tests they both took. The youngest members of Mensa have been a few 2-year-old children, including a girl from England who scored 156 on her IQ test.
James likes to do a lot of “stuff,” he says, such as riding his scooter, playing with Legos, watching cartoons on PBS and cooking.
Their mother, Kathleen LeSage, knew her children were intelligent, but still wants them to be children without the pressure of having a high intelligent quotient.
She and her husband, also named James but who goes by the name Jimmy, encourages them to be just that, children.
James attended a local private school in addition to being home-schooled. He lives part-time in Naples, while the rest of the year — primarily the summer months — in Vermont where his parents operate Jimmy LeSage’s New Life Hiking Spa. This year the family will stay in the area due to business concerns, but will return to the area next year.
James will enter first grade at Killington Elementary School in Vermont. During the summer, his mom says, he participated on the Killington Coyotes baseball team and is on the Killington Sharks Swim Team where he recently won two first-place ribbons.
Before they headed north earlier this year the family spent an afternoon at a Naples park, playing like typical children, swinging and playing on the slide. James rode his scooter, while little sister chased him.
“He is so just a normal kid,” his mom said. She stresses she wants him to have a normal, happy childhood. “We will continue to foster that at home.”
Ditto for LeAnne.
By having the children tested for inclusion in Mensa, it helps the family get more options to stimulate them.
But, “we really need to know and adhere to who we are,” his mom said. “Part of a happy childhood is to be a kid yourself.”
The family also stresses everyone is equal.
“This boy is class blind and color blind,” his mother said.
James thinks maybe he wants to own a restaurant when he is old enough. He may call it the James Tall Café.
“I’m not totally sure,” he says when asked what type of restaurant he would like. “I want it to be different menus.”
He helps his father make waffles, but nothing typical.
They are healthy, James says. The waffles are made of oatmeal, whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, eggs, milk and of course bananas. But, being from Vermont, the family uses nothing but Maple syrup.
He carries his healthiness over into riding his scooter.
“I like riding my scooter because it really gets you healthy,” James said. He also likes soccer and hockey and “kind of likes” football and basketball.
He understands education is paramount to a successful life.
“My favorite subject in school is school. In art I got to make my own robot,” he says with pride, adding it was made from “a bunch of junk, like computers and with a glue gun.”
As for watching television, James says he doesn’t do that too often, but his favorite channel is PBS Kids. He watches Martha Speaks, Wild Krats and Arthur.
LeAnne is very good in math.
She “often takes food, counts out the pieces and then does subtraction,” Kathleen LeSage says. “For instance: ‘I have 15 cheddar bunnies. If I eat four, I’ll have 11 left!’”
LeAnne also takes beads and strings them in patterns.
“The other day,” her mother said, “she took beads and did two rows of purple, pink, yellow, white and then said to me: ‘Hey mommy, what comes next?? Like she was testing me!’”
Other than that, she is a very normal little girl who loves anything pink or anything to do with fairies or princesses, Kathleen LeSage said.
“While in Naples, she took gymnastics and ballet, but we haven’t got established with that yet in Vermont,” her mother said. “She is currently in soccer camp with her brother James … and will start preschool in the fall.”
The children speak like kids, but with more intensity than “typical” children.
For instance, Wild Krats, James explains, is good to watch “because you learn about animals and creatures.”
His little sister, who loves dressing up as a princess much like Tinkerbell, piped in that she likes “fireflies and butterflies.”
“They talk in code,” James says of the fireflies.