By Carol Rood
I have two biological children and two step children. I have always had nicknames for them on this blog because they were under 18. Well, that was when I started. Now the oldest (L), is almost 22, The Hunter is 19, Joe Cool is 17 and The Genius is 14 (almost 15). So, with their permission I will begin using the real names of the oldest two. L is Katarina and The Hunter is Brandon. However, since the other two are not 18 yet, they will keep their blog nicknames for now.
I recently wrote about Joe Cool, but today I want to talk about The Genius.
To be completely honest he is NOT a genius, but I started calling him that because he is a smart kid who gets A’s and B’s in school, always does his schoolwork without needing reminding reminding (which ALWAYS had to be done with the other three), and is a bit of a nerd. (Loves Minecraft, Dr. Who, Sims, etc). So The Genius just seemed appropriate.
When he was in 8th grade we attended a program out on by the Suffolk Public Schools to talk about the towns International Baccalaureate (IB) program, Dual Enrollment, and Governor’s school. These are Academic programs that require more work than a “regular” diploma and can benefit kids, particularly when it comes to college. It never occurred to me that The Genius would NOT go to college, so off we went to learn.
He did not want to attend the IB program because it is not held at the high school where kids in our neighborhood go, but at a school much further away. He would have to ride the bus for almost an hour each way, and most of his friends would be at the high school where we are zoned. So that was a big NO from him. Because kids have so little control in their lives about stuff, school is one area I have always tried to go with their wishes, so the IB program was out.
Then we looked at Dual Enrollment, (DE). There are two DE programs in Suffolk. One gives them a certificate, and one gives them a General Studies Associate Degree upon graduation from high school. So he opted for the Associates Degree program.
Within the first 9 weeks of his 9th grade year I talked to the counselor I was told was in charge of the program, Ms. R, and she explained to me the kids test in April or May and The Genius should listen for an announcement so he could get the information for testing.
Ummmmm, he is 14. He is NOT going to pay attention. So I tried to keep up with it. I called her again after the first of the year to “check in ” and make sure he was one “the list” so he wouldn’t be missed. She assured me he was.
Time goes by. All of a sudden at the end of April I realize, hmmmm, I haven’t heard anything about this. I ask him, and he of course doesn’t know. So, I email Ms. R. She emails me back and says the College Assessment test is THAT week, and I need to get her a form TOMORROW (I called her on a Monday), so he can take the test on Thursday. Really?? What happened to The Genius being on a list and the parents being informed?? That should have been my first clue as to how this was going to go.
Now, I want to stop here and say that this particular counselor is my FAVORITE one at the high school. When we were having struggles with the oldest child, this lady was RIGHT there, to ensure she graduated. She cares about the kids, and I love her, so she got a pass, eve though I was annoyed by it.
So, long story a bit shorter, the kid goes and takes his test. We are told, “we will let you know the next step and how he did in a couple of weeks.”
A few weeks goes by. I do ask him about it, but his counselor Ms. P hasn’t called him in to talk about it, so I wait.
A few more weeks go by, I know college classes are about to start summer semester, so I ask him again. No news yet. Life gets crazy and I forget.
The last week of school I email Ms. R, who says, “well yes, he did very well, didn’t Ms. P talk to him?” Um, no, she didn’t. Oops, is basically the response I get.
So my stress induced chicken with my head cut off mode begins. I immediately call the school. Ms P isn’t in, so I speak to Ms. C, who is in charge of Dual Enrollment apparently. She is new, so I have not met her, but she tells me everything I have to do, and I and The Genius get busy.
Of course I speak to Ms. C on a Friday, so we have to wait until Monday to get busy. And I am working a full day on Monday….GREAT!
I have to call the college and make an appointment to go in and see one of two counselors. I leave him messages on Friday (apparently he isn’t in on Friday…go figure).
Monday am, he calls me and asks if I can come in THAT day, as he will be on vacation for the next week, and classes start NEXT WEEK! Ummm, no, actually, I am at work today. Is there someone else we can see this week? Sure he says, cal Dr. S. “Good luck”, he says. “Thanks”, I say
I call Dr. S. She isn’t in on Monday……..great……
I do reach Ms. P on Monday on the telephone. I express my concern and displeasure that we were never notified and are now behind the curve. Ms P says, “I am so sorry, we were busy the last month of the school year.” Wow, really? “What can we do Ms. Rood to get this fixed for you?”
So I tell her we intend to apply for the scholarship that is available for DE (which I found out about on my own, thank you), and I need TWO letters of recommendation. One from a counselor and one from a teacher. She assures me she will get them done that day and I can pick them up first thing Tuesday morning.
Tuesday morning at 8 am I am at the school picking up the letters, and a formal transcript. Check, one thing done.
At 10 am I finally hear back from Dr. S, who makes us an appointment to see her on Thursday (yesterday) at 10 am.
In the meantime I have The Genius start writing his 500 word essay on why DE is a good idea for him. How it will help him in life, etc….
Thursday we show up at the college at 9:50 for our appointment, and we are called in to see Dr. S at 11:00. YAY!! I love waiting an hour in an over air conditioned lobby. Thank goodness for free college WiFi!!
We see Dr. S. who proceeds to let us know that one of the classes The Genius is supposed to take is over half way completed (of course the high school was supposed to contact us in early May to enroll him on time), however, the other class is online, but it is full. (you have got to be kidding me).
However, she kindly just goes ahead and puts him in the class, and seems to genuinely care about my kid, so for that I am grateful, and thank her profusely!
So we walk over to get the book he needs, but the book store is closed on Thursday……of course it is.
So after all of this the kid is in the class. But my journey is not yet complete. I have another form to take back to the high school, I have to get his attendance record while I am there. Then today I have to go to Barnes and Nobel and try to get the book he needs for class, and we need to get his scholarship paperwork (which is too late for this semester of course) mailed. There is no Pell Grant or other financial help available to high school students, so it looks like we are footing the entire bill for this semester……sigh…….
If you are still reading, thank you for your perseverance. I feel like I have had to have lots of perseverance throughout this process as well.
However, the difference is that while you are almost finished, I still have much to do.
But at least my kid is enrolled, and on his way to earning a College Degree while in High School. There is that at least.
Top Photo Credit: David A. Ellis
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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