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Cole Wills entertains customers at K’s Bakery in Fargo after school with some classical music. The eighth-grader is working to save money to attend engineering classes at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service

Teen pianist hopes to play his way to college: Eighth-grade boy from Fargo plans to attend prestigious school by raising funds with music

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FARGO — When Cole Wills sits down at a piano or keyboard, he’s all business.

After all, the 14-year-old has some college-level ka-ching to come up with.


The Carl Ben Eielson eighth-grader wants to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study engineering.

At today’s prices, that’s about $59,000 a year for tuition, room, board and books.

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Helmut Schmidt
Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.
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