The High School Decision

Posted by Danny

Lisa would have handled the high school search for DJ.  The applications, the visits, the entrance exams.  I would have been informed at some point where my daughter was going to school.  Of course I would have been consulted on finances if it was not a public institution; but, the decision would have fallen squarely to Lisa and DJ.

I don’t want to make that decision.  I like being told. 

Now it falls to me.

I have completed more bubble forms on-line than the average junior taking the PSAT.  I have typed in my address on four applications, two standardized tests, and on multiple scholarship forms. 

We have shadowed at four schools and attended five orientations.  At this point, I can’t tell you which one is  all girls and which one requires uniforms (I think there is one of each). 

I really liked the Catholic school.  I’d sort of like to be Catholic.  I REALLY like the idea of confession.  I know, I know, God forgives if we just ask.  But I like the idea of spilling the beans to someone through a small brown wooden wall and being given specific tasks to clear the slate.  When it comes down to it, I guess my desire to bear my soul isn’t a sound reason to choose a high school for DJ.

The private school in North Raleigh was beautiful.  The classes were small and the campus reminded me of my visit to Harvard a few years ago.  It was very impressive.  But, it was a pretty long drive from our house AND I would have had to sell at least one child and Jesse to be able to afford the tuition.  I considered that option, but wasn’t sure I could handle the annual clothes clean out without him.

Our base school is a large public school  where Lisa and her siblings attended.  Had she been alive, that’s probably where we would have landed.  DJ visited and enjoyed her day but she came home and said, “It’s really big.  And those were some long, boring classes.”  With my inability to be involved and stay on top of things – that concerned me.  She gets enough boring at home; I’m not sure she can take any more.

Much to her chagrin, I required her to attend the orientation for the local charter school.  It has a great reputation for academics…they stressed to the parents that the kids would have hours and hours of homework each night.  That’s punishment for me!  I’m not sure that I want to be in homework purgatory the next four years myself.  Plus, DJ “hears” that there are only nerds and geeks at that school.  She gets enough of that at home as well.

We have also received four – yes four – complete packets of information from another private school that we haven’t even applied to – I think they may send her class schedule and a bus to pick her up in August unless I drive over there and tell them we are not attending.

After much deliberation, a couple of fights, prayer (at least by my mom – I usually save my personal requests for bigger things like wives with cancer and purpose in life), and a “Are You Absolutely Sure” meeting in DJ’s bedroom, the decision has been made.

In August, DJ will attend St. Mary’s School!  It is a small girl’s school here in Raleigh with a stellar reputation for tough academics and incredible support.  I’ll have to admit I was a bit reluctant about a school  with no boys.  Although I think it’s great not to have that distraction in class, I do want my daughter to have a date before she turns 36.  But this school has a huge focus on making confident leaders out of the young women who attend.  And I can’t argue with that.

Several years ago Lisa went to an open house at St. Mary’s just to hear what they had to say.  She came home and told me, “I know we could never afford St. Mary’s but when you sit and hear their schpill, you just want to drop your kid off when she gets into 9th grade and pick her up when she graduates!” 

I think she’d approve of the decision.

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