Wonderful Seniors (The Ones in High School)

This weekend Oldest One was honored as a senior athlete just before the Boys Varsity basketball game.  Because cheerleading runs through two seasons the honors and banquets come at the end of basketball season.  She was really excited about this, and so were we.

We weren’t sure we would make the basketball game because we had a competition with club cheer.  It turned out that the girls team pulled out (after we drove 45 minutes to the venue) because we had a sick flyer who couldn’t be there, two girls with broken fingers and the competition was running two hours behind before it even started.  So, although the team had been ready for competition, it worked out for us as we made the Girls Varsity basketball game too.

Before the Boys Varsity game started all the cheerleaders, Girls Varsity and Boys Varsity members lined up on the court.  Each senior athlete was given a candy bar/Hershey Kisses arrangement and two roses.  The honorees each wrote a letter that was read aloud thanking whoever they wanted, and saying what it meant to have been part of the team and school through the years.  Then the school said something about each senior.  It was such a great ceremony.

Oldest One was the first one honored, and she is the only senior cheerleader.  The very first people she thanked were Husband and I, which made us feel so much love for her.  Yes, all the kids thanked their parents, but not necessarily first, and she thanked us for all of our cheer support over the years.  One of the basketball players we often feed and who is at our house a lot also thanked us for our support, which was completely unexpected, and really touched us.

All of the seniors have been accepted to college, and most have a scholarship.  Oldest One has an academic scholarship that pays tuition for four years.  None of our state universities give cheerleading scholarships.  Some of the kids are going to be playing football at a community college on scholarship, which is so awesome considering this is the first high school graduating class for our small charter school.

It has been a privilege to watch these kids grow up, and to see where they are going on the next part of their adventures.  I once had a co-worker who told me her house had been the gathering place for kids when her children were in high school, and many of the kids had stayed in touch with her, and she had gone to graduations and weddings for them, and got to see their children.  I hope Husband and I will be that lucky; to get to continue to be a part of the lives of the kids who invade our house, make a lot of noise, eat everything not nailed down, and truly help to make our house a great home.

Not Worthy Notes

When my senior year of high school ended I took most of the various memorabilia and notes I had written with friends and put it all in a box.  I don’t know why I did this, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  The box moved around with me, and I never really went through it, except to open it, see it was my high school stuff, then close it and put it back in whatever closet it was being stored in.

With Oldest One in her senior year I thought it would be fun to pull all that stuff out and look at it with her.  When I went into our storage closet I couldn’t find it.  I thought I found it, but it was actually college and post-college letters, cards, daily planners and other miscellaneous fun stuff.  It was great going through that, and reading letters from people who are gone now, such as my Dad, my grandmothers and my great-aunt was just wonderful.  I showed Oldest One the cards and letters, some college items I had saved, and the personal ad I placed during a free promotion in the Jewish Newspaper of the city I had just moved to after graduating college.  There were a couple of high school items, such as my graduation cap and tassel, and a couple of ID’s, but not all the notes.

I really wanted to find the high school stuff, and a couple of days ago Husband and I were going through the closet looking for something else, and I found all of it.  It is now in a soft-side business briefcase.  I was so excited to find it that as soon as we found what we needed and put everything back I sat down with it all and started to look through it.

Which was a mistake.  Wow, was I an idiot.  Yes, I was a 17 year old girl getting ready to leave home for the first time to be on my own (hmmm, this sounds familiar), but apparently all of my brain cells were dormant.  If I wasn’t going on about a particular boy (and it seems I was a bit of a stalker from the sound of the notes between my girlfriends and I), I was looking to meet guys, or going to parties, or bored.  Sometimes all of the above at the same time.  I came across a note from one of my good friends talking about her parents going out of town so she was having a party, and could I bring the alcoholic beverages?  What?!  Oh wait, right, I was the only one the drive-through liquor store would sell to without asking for ID.  As if I want to share that.

Then there was my handwriting.  I know I used to dot my i’s with open circles, but didn’t realize how small I wrote.  I had this really rounded writing that didn’t even take up half of the available line space for height, which made it really hard to read.  I owe all of my teachers a huge apology.  Back then most assignments were written by hand, so they must have hated reading my assignments.  My handwriting looked ridiculous.

On a positive note I did read an essay I had done on a poet.  Since I’ve helped several seniors with essays, and see how they write, I had an idea of how I ranked.  The essay was actually pretty good.  It was coherent, put together well, and made sense.  So I must have had some brain cells triggering somewhere in my head.

I have put everything back in the briefcase and on the highest shelf in my bedroom closet.  At some point when I have time alone in the house I’ll take it down and spend time reading more of the notes.  Maybe I’ll find it really isn’t that bad and the handful I glanced through were the oddball ones.  I’m not holding my breath on that being the case.  I’m also not sharing with Oldest One, because she already is questioning my intelligence, and this would only confirm the worst.

Sub-Par? Not Even Close.

Anyone who knows me know how important my girls are too me.  I love them more than I can put into words, I am so proud of all their accomplishments and who they are, and I will happily make sacrifices for them to be able to do things that make them happy, and that will help them become good people and on their future paths.  It’s a given.  Or so I thought.

But then I had a conversation with someone that, by the time it was done, pretty much left me understanding they thought my choice of school, high school specifically, wasn’t a good one.  Understand, education is very important to Husband and me, but apparently we hardly gave it any thought.  I researched the school when we moved to the area, and visited, and talked to people.  It’s a charter school, and my girls have never gone to a traditional public school, because we don’t like the big class sizes, how PE, art and music have been cut, and that the education itself might not be what we wanted.  Oh, and our state ranks one of the last for education, so parents really need to be proactive.

Oldest One will be the first high school class graduating from our school.  She has gone there since 4th grade.  Little One started there in Kindergarten, and plans to attend the high school.  Oldest One only has 20 kids in her class.  She also, as a Senior, has all but 3 credits needed for college, she will finish with a semester of college credits, and being as it is a preparatory academy, has had very challenging classes.  By her freshman year she had already dissected pretty much every animal done in high school.  Driving by dead cats on the side of the road was challenging, because she always wanted me to stop and get them so she could show me how great she was at skinning and dissecting a cat.  Nope, I never did.

But it was implied that my daughter wasn’t getting good science classes, and with such a small class they couldn’t have done labs, because it was too expensive.  Except she did.  Her favorite science class was anatomy.  I am sure every regular public high school kid takes anatomy.  Oh yeah, it’s required at our high school.  You know, the one I didn’t research too well, and that it probably wasn’t a good idea to put my daughter in.

I am hugely pushy about education.  I expect good grades, and for them to learn and understand, and they know college is an expectation, not a choice.  I check their grades (and so do they), and as I’ve already said, I’m pushy with Older One about everything college related.  I’m pushy with Little One, already telling her she will do National Honor Society, and I want her to do something with student government in high school.  Things that will help her with applying to and getting scholarships to college.  Older One has done NHS, Key Club, Student Government, Varsity Cheer…and she has a really good GPA.  Even though she attends a sub-par school.

Did this just set me off?  You bet it did.  Nothing is more important to Husband and I than the girls, and we do everything we can to make sure they can be successful.  Ultimately success is up to them, but without our support (and money!) it would be a lot harder.  And I know they go to a great school.  Little One has 80 kids in her class (which is big for this school), and most of the grades have waiting lists.  Because the teachers and administrators are great, and really care about the kids.  The curriculum is challenging.  The kids are prepared to go to college.  What a horrible place to send them.

I’m fine with people deciding I’m not too bright.  I use it to my advantage.  But don’t you ever imply my kids aren’t, or that I’m not doing right by them with education, or how I raise them.  Messing with my kids always makes me extremely mad.  Like it did just now.