School's Out

I do not know where to begin this tale. So perhaps I will begin with the ending- for lack of a better idea. All of my babies are graduating this summer. Princess will remain at the same school, but technically, she is moving into "Middle School". Buddha Boy is entering High School just as Soccer and Computer Boys are graduating and off to college. It's a mixed bag of emotions on a number of levels, and I am not talking aobut grade levels- ha ha ha.

There is no way to gently ease into the subject matter of this essay, so I will dive in. One twin will be graduating with cap and gown with his class, and the other will not be allowed to participate due to a very poor decision he made a mere two months prior to completing four years of high school as a scholar/athlete/teacher's pet. This has probably been one of the toughest twin issues my husband and I have ever had to grapple with. It certainly is not the the way we expected him to finish out his Senior Year.

Here is how it happened. About two months ago my husband called me at work and asked me if I was sitting sown. I was cetrain he was going to tell me that he had been laid off, since he's been fretting about that for the past several years. But that wasn't the reason for his call at all. He went on to tell me that one of our boys had gotten himself into some serious trouble for purchasing a prescription drug at school, and that we had to go and pick hm up, as he had been placed on immediate suspension.

The Vice Principal, whom I can't say enough nice things about, was expremely professional and compassionate. She let us know that our boy had been cooperative and that he was quite upset. She recommended an excellent counselor, who was able to fit us into his busy schedule, prior to the school board meeting three days later.

We went home and had a very long conversation where we learned some things aobut our son that were less than pleasant. This is a kid who had never been in any sort of trouble until about 6 months ago when he began pulling the typical teen shenanigans- staying out past curfew, dressing like a tough guy, harrassing his younger siblings, and was as arrogant as all get out. Hubby and I thought his acting up was mainly due to the fact that he was in a major growth spurt and that his hormones were in overdrive. After all, he kept up his grades and had a very busy social life with many charming friends who we thought we knew well. Since he didn't have his driver's license, he couldn't go out unless he was with a buddy who could drive. Thinking back on it, we were very fortunate to have received a call from the school instead of the Highway Patrol.

We had a very good meeting with the counselor, and our son was very open with us. We had to be open with him too. Course I got lost on the way there and was a train wreck by the time we arrived half an hour late! The next day my son, my husband and I met before the school board for the hearing. The shock of it all electrified the room. A lot of questions were asked and answered. I thought it went pretty well, but my son and husband did not. Course I was wrong and they were right. But we had to wait three days to find that out. The Vice Principal let us know that we had the choice to appeal the board decision and meet with the Principal. As we had nothing to lose except our pride, we decided to give this a shot. We thought by the sheer force of our parental love, and the fact that our son had never been in any trouble previously, that we could again plead our case, make ammends and put Humpty Dumpty together again.

After a brutal two hour meeting with the principal, where he did most of the talking, aimed at my husband, dismissed whatever I tried to add, and accused our son of sins not yet committed, the board decision was upheld. The Vice Principal asked my son which of the three graduating festivities he would most like to attend- Prom, Grad Night, or Cap and Gown ceremony. He chose Cap and Gown. We all left in tears not really knowing what the next step was going to be. The principal had recommended an out patient parent child program some 40 minutes from our house taking place on Tuesday nights. We immediately began attending. I think that any parent at those meetings would have gladly traded places with us. There were plenty of really troubled kids there, but my son wanted to attend the meetings and is still attending.

The principal also mentioned that if my son attended the meetings, and passed his courses, he would be able to get his diploma. Prior to his dismissal, he was pulling all A's and B's. After three weeks of no instruction, his grades were tanking. It turned out that our school did not have a home study program in place, and because our son was such a good student, two of his teachers came forward and offered to meet with us on their own time off campus. Bless them. It proved quite difficult to get the work from two of his other teachers, but after many many emails cc'd to many many people, we were able to get the work. He completed it, and his brother turned it in. Only one of his friends came over once to go over school work. It hurt to learn from the mother of one of his best friends, that her son wasn't allowed to visit our house.

We confiscated his phone, wiped his iPod clean of all the gangsta rap, put away the baggy shorts and hair gel, and the cool kid got to learn what it's like to spend all day in a office at an airport listening to two middle aged women talking on the phone all day about boring insurance matters at the same time. Without a cell phone, he may as well have dropped off of the face of the earth. Only three of his friends actually had the nerve, or whatever you want to call it, to actually phone our home on the land line. He was dropped like spoiled meat. Out of sight out of mind.

Throughout the ordeal, he somehow managed to keep a sunny disposition, and has been extremely helpful and cooperative. His two younger siblings have been his staunchest allies playing endless games of chess and allowing him to hang with them and their friends. Good thing he never excluded them form hanging with him and his friends. His days went from being active to just being long. We still held out hope that he might get to graduate with his twin brother.

Holding on to this hope, I muscled through having to take the photos of all of his friends at the Post Prom party. No one even asked about him. ThankGod my husband came home early and took us out to a nice dinner before that.

My husband requested anther meeting with the Principal to go over our son's progress, which we felt was very good. Our emails went unanswered and our phone calls were not returned. This wasn't the way my husband was accustomed to being treated. Finally the poor Vice Principal had to be the bearer of bad news. The Principal felt that missing Prom, Grad Night, Family Fun Night, Senior Awards Ceremony, Baccalauriate Mass, and Classroom Instruction, having his phone taken away, attending two meetings a week, not being able to go out with friends, and being shunned by his friends did not amount to enough consequesces for his one wrong action- so no, he would not be allowed to participate in Cap and Gown ceremonies. I got the call at work and wilted at my desk. My boss came over with kind words, a neck rub and a ridiculous amount of chocolate to ease the pain.

Why we were given any hope of his possibly being able to graduate with his twin, I do not know. Perhaps they were afraid we wouldn't pay the last two months' tuition. Maybe they wanted him to get their diploma so they could keep his good grade stats on their books. With only two months left and with classes nearly done, it wasn't possible for us to get him into another school. So it is what it is. He didn't get charged with a Felony, he's supposed to get his diploma, he's cleaned up his act, and our family survived. This is but a burp in the beginning of an eight course dinner.The best is yet to come. Some of our most valuable life lessons don't come cheap. He has decided to put on his suit and join his family as a spectator at his own graduation. He will hold his head up high and cheer on his brother. And hopefully become a better person because of it.

*** no new recipe this month- just been eating a lot of salad and Trader Joe's frozen prepared foods!***

Jokes

A student comes to a young professor's office hours.
She glances down the hall, closes his door, kneels pleadingly.
'I would do anything to pass this exam.'
She leans closer to him, flips back her hair, gazes meaningfully into his eyes.
'I mean...' she whispers, '...I would do...
**anything**!!!'
He returns her gaze. 'Anything???'
'Yes,... Anything!!!'
His voice turns to a whisper. 'Would you...... study???'

***

A not necessarily well-prepared student sat in his life science classroom, staring at a question on the final exam paper. The question directed: "Give four advantages of breast milk."
What to write? He sighed, and began to scribble whatever came into his head, hoping for the best:


1. No need to boil.
2. Never goes sour.
3. Available whenever necessary.

So far so good - maybe. But the exam demanded a fourth answer. Again, what to write? Once more, he sighed. He frowned. He scowled, then sighed again. Suddenly, he brightened. He grabbed his pen, and triumphantly, he scribbled his definitive answer:

4. Available in attractive containers of varying sizes.

He received an A.

***

After Graduating from High School, David moves away from home to study at University. One of his letters home reads:
Dear Father,
University i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply ¢an't think of anything I need, $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.
Love,
Your $on.

After receiving his son's letter, the father immediately replies by sending a letter back.


Dear David,
I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh.
Love,
Dad

***

Thank you for your letter of February 17th. After careful consideration I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment with your bank.
This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite Company 203's outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore I will initiate employment with your firm immediately following graduation. I look forward to seeing you then.

Sincerely, XXXXXXXX

June 1, 2009
Next Post date: July 6, 2009
Happy Father's Day and Graduation

Quotes

“A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success.”

***

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own.
And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.”

***

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”

***

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

***

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

***

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

***

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

***

“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.”

***

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”

***

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

***

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

***

“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

***

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

***

“If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.”

***

“Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.”

***

“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.”

***

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

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