Researchers look for students from 1960 study conducted at Waxahachie's Turner High School

Andrew Branca
This is parts of the test that Turner High School Students took in 1960 as a part of Project Talent to evaluate a person's talents and abilities. Now 58 years later test participants are being asked to take part in a follow-up questioner to help researchers studying dementia.


Turner High School students in 1960 took part in a nationwide study called Project Talent, which evaluated the talents and abilities of individuals.

Fifty-eight years later, a final questioner is being sent to participants with the hope that it can help unravel the mysteries of Dementia. There's one catch, though: The students need to be located.

Susan Lapham, Vice President for research and evaluation for the American Institute for Research, stated they have been successful in locating about 95 of the original participants since the new studies started in 2009. Data from the new research is still being collected at this time.

“What we hope to find are indicators or factors that might influence a person’s risk for dementia,” Lapham said. “We want to know what the things that people can do or not do as early as high school to help make the risks lower and for lowering Dementia.”

Lapham stated this research is similar to how the longitudinal studies were conducted in the 1970s and 1980s on heart disease to find risk factors associated with the condition.

The original Project Talent study was to make sure students were being guided into a career that matched their talents and abilities. Through a series of questions, the study looked at a person’s aptitudes, abilities, hopes, and expectations. Follow up surveys were conducted over the years to collect information about family formation, education, and health. Testing at Turner took place over four days with 2,500 students participating.

Lapham stated the sample size of the study was large — about 400,000 students from around the country were tested — so that research in other fields could be done over the span of a person’s life.

The Daily Light contacted former Turner students Chuck Beatty, Evelyn Coleman, and Alfred Mims, but found they did not participate in the test.

Beatty encourages fellow classmates who participated in the original 1960 study to contact researchers to follow up with them. If desired, the Daily Light would also like to speak with any individual who recalls taking the survey.

Researchers have been unsuccessful in finding students who were members of the 1960-1963 Turner High School classes. Participants from the original Project Talent can contact researchers by phone at 1-866-770-6977, or the can send an email to Additional information about the study can be found on its website at