Sunday, February 15, 2009

High School Decision Revealed!

Deciding which high school The Boy would attend was a decision that we have debated for about a year--maybe longer. Before I say anything else, let me say this: Before we made our final decision, at any given point and time, The Boy was *going* to each one of these schools...until nagging doubt about our decision took over and we were back to square one weighing the pros and cons.

A few details then about the decision-making process...

  1. The public high-school is 2 miles (read: The Boy could walk, if necessary) from our home. They have a stellar sports program and excellent academic opportunities. A certain Boy was quite impressed with one of their seniors (third in his class) this year who is attending Northwestern and will also play football there. The staff we met was extremely helpful and showed a true commitment to their work, calling each student they encountered by name. No small feat for a school of nearly 2000 students. And did I mention the facilities? We pay money to belong to a gym that is not as nice as the facilities at this school. And the auditorium! Is not of the cafetorium or cafeagymatorium variety. Let's just leave it at that. But, there's always two sides to every coin and in this case we had to consider--The Boy would be leaving an incredible group of friends--none of whom would attend this school and while it seems a very character-filled place, our Faith would not be taught. Students would not attend Mass together. And the character traits being taught would fall into the "be good for goodness sake" category rather than their Judeo-Christian etiology.
  2. The diocesan co-ed high school is about 20 minutes from our home. It would definitely necessitate additional driving next year to and from school, sports practices and friends' homes. Fortunately, The Boy has a good friend who lives close by who is planning to attend and his mom is a stellar car pool companion. The school offers (as did the public high school) block-scheduling allowing for The Boy to be finished with all of his advanced Math classes before taking the ACT. And freeing him up to take AP Biology senior year, which would help in his current calling to work in medicine. This is also The Captain's alma mater. Although he attended back in the day when the school was neither located in its present location nor housed in the brand spanking new building it is in now. Students participate daily in the Faith and are required to complete service hours each year in order to graduate. There are roughly 500 students in the school. 150 incoming freshmen took the placement test. Several of his friends will attend here--the remaining majority will attend the all-boys school....
  3. Which is also an excellent option. Firm in the faith and tradition, the school offered an impressive list of colleges where students are accepted. Having attended a single-sex college, I know first hand the benefits of this endangered style of education. In the same sports conference as the diocesan school, both offer similar options for sports and activities (A new building and grounds campaign is underway to improve and add to the outdoor facilities). And, this school is also located about 25 minutes from our house...again with the carpool. While I'm sure there are people in our neck-of-the woods who attend, we have yet to meet anyone currently there. There are approximately 500 boys in attendance. Being as traditional as it is, the school offers a standard seven-period school day rather than block scheduling. And as a former military school, it is well-known for its discipline. And in the past two years, they have sent a number of students to West Point (The Captain's other alma mater.)
While all of these things weighed heavily in our decision, they really are just pawns in the decision making game. The most important factors we needed to look at were those of The Boy--his personality, his needs, his future and helping him answer the call to become the man God intended him to be. When we looked at our son--the future orthopedic surgeon (if he has his way) who will do pro bono work on the side (he doens't know this yet, but as his mom I can see the forest for the trees), whose hands are always busy with productive, quality activities and work, who was born with his father's amazing self-discipline and motivation--we knew which school would be the best fit for him.

It took us a while, but when we knew--we knew.

Next year, The Boy will be entering here as a freshman.

And fortunately, we have four more years before we have to make this decision again.


Dawn said...

From your descriptions, this was what I thought you would have decided. It is SO hard and I wish you all the best!!

Our children attend a Catholic elemnetary school. Our son (1st grade), qualified for Special Education services. His IEP was drawn up by the public school district. Now it is the task of seeing if the Catholic school can accomodate it, at all. Our new dilemna is if the public school would be better, academicly.

Jane (a.k.a. patjrsmom) said...

Hi Dawn,

We've been down THAT road before, too! With our daughter who came home from Ethiopia. Although she didn't have an IEP, she was definitely an English Language Learner and the public schools (although the Catholic school she was in came close!) were best suited to accommodate her on many levels, except teaching her our Faith! So, here we are a year later--homeschooling!--something I wasn't *planning* for this year. But it has been a perfect fit for us this year. So much so, that we're going to continue with next year and see where it leads us. God's plan is always best! ;-)

Good luck with your decision. Let me know how it turns out...


kathyb said...

Grandma here, we couldn't be happier and will start the gold and blue
afghan shortly. ps. remember all
three of you went to different high
schools and your brother is going
camping with his high school buddies
this spring. 15 years after hs. much
like faith and katie. and lizzie goes to fancy dinners to honor her
special teachers. it ain't easy but
remember the uniqueness of each child.

Barb, sfo said...

Congrats to him! I hope that he will LOVE it at his school next year. High school has really made a big difference in Big Brother's life and I am glad about the choice we made. Hope TheBoy will make the most of his experience!

We're going down the Block Scheduling road, so I'd be happy to pass along what I've learned as a parent as far as that goes. (As with anything, it has its good and bad points).

The Dual Role Grandma said...

We'll be doing the Big Decision in four years. We are seriously looking at moving out of the area to McHenry County.

But I think the choice for the Boy is dead on.