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Mendel's Education
Up until about 20 years before Johann's birth, his village had no school.  Most children were unable to read or write. But a school was there for Johann. He and the 80 other children in the school learned their "3 Rs," plus the essentials of fruit growing and bee keeping.

The only teacher in the school, Thomas Makitta, was quick to realize that Johann had special ability, being what we would call today as "gifted and talented." Johann had heard about a more exciting school at Leipnik, a town about 13 miles away.  It was much like today's Middle Schools.  Two boys in Heinzendorf were going to this school and on their vacations they impressed Johann and the other local children with all the new things they were learning.

Johann and his teacher pleaded with the parents to send him off to this school. Johann's father wanted him to stay on the farm and be prepared to run it upon inheritance.  But his father also knew that education was the only way Johann would escape from the narrow and hard life of a peasant. In those times, the peasants were partial slaves, being required to work three days a week for the Lord of the Manor.

So, Johann did go to this larger school, and he quickly achieved top-of-the-class standing.

In order to go to college, Johann had to work to pay the bills. He tried to get work as a private tutor, but failed because of lack of friends and contacts with people who could give him recommendations. He became so stressed that he became sick and had to go back home to recuperate. It took a year before he was well enough to go back to college. Even after he went back, his health broke down again and again. He had to drop out after the first two years. His college professor, Friederick Franz, had taught at the Augustinian monastery in Brno and had been asked to become a scout for promising candidates. He was impressed with Johann, whom he described as "a young man of very solid character. In my own branch (of science) he is almost the best."

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