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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Pride Runneth Over


My baby girl isn't a baby anymore.  She is growing up so fast, and I am so proud of her I could burst.  She started 10th grade this year and she is doing so well - beyond my expectations, but not beyond her own. 


So many 15 year old's lack the focus and commitment for their education and future.  Not Sarah.  She is totally committed to her future and her education.  She has high goals for herself.   We have always encouraged her to pursue her passions and reach for those dreams that are important to her, but I must admit I am surprised and inspired by her goals.  Well, maybe I'm not really all that surprised.  Sarah has always been a "winner."  From the time she was little, she viewed competition as a way to grow to have fun, to make new friends, and that is what I tried to teach her - that competition can be healthy and fun, it all depends on how you look at it.


Today in school, she was given a document to fill out about her college goals and when she got home she proceeded to tell me what she wrote...

Harvard Medical
Yale Law
Georgetown Medical or Law
University of North Carolina

I knew that she was investigating colleges online in her spare time, but - well - I had no idea she was aiming so high.  Thing is, though, is that I know she can do it.  There is nothing holding her back except maybe finances.  She has a healthy brain and a healthy body.  She is smart and articulate - and I think I've earned bragging rights here.  I mean, she's my baby girl - and so grown up. 


Sarah has been researching colleges since she was in 8th grade, but this list blew me away.  She is an "A" student with the occasional "B."  She takes Honors and Advanced Placement classes.  This semester she is taking Honors Biology, Honors Algebra II, French I, and Civics.  She has the highest grade in her class in Honors Biology with an average score of "97."  Now do you understand why I'm so proud?  Why "we" are so proud?


I homeschooled Sarah from the beginning until she started her high school years, and I am doing the same for our other 2 children.  Matthew and Glen are now in 7th and 4th grades, respectively, and doing very well.  But Sarah has validated, for me anyway, that her years of homeschooling were successful, and that she understands how important her high school years and her grades are in being able to pursue her college education.  For her, high school is not a game - it's her future.  It's her job.  We tell her to "Stay focused and keep her eye on the goal."  And, you know somethin'? - she is doing just that.


I have a strange way of explaining things sometimes, but I have told all of our children since 7th grade that they need to hone their study skills "now" and get into the mind-set of aiming for those "As."  They need to understand that as soon as they enter high school, they are in competition with every other student to garner the attention of the college they want to go to.  If they have a dream, nobody is going to hand it to them.  They have to earn it, earn it well, and work for it - every single day. They need to stay focused and before they can blink an eye, they will be living their dream.


We're talkin' scholarship money here, baby!  I've told our children that once they're in high school that every "A" is like being handed a check for a 1,000 dollars.  If you get a "B" that's like a check for one hundred dollars.  A "C" - you won't get anything.  If you get a "D" you have to give back 10,000 dollars. And if you fail, you have to give back everything you've earned thus far.  In other words, you might be going into some deep debt if you have poor grades. 

So, think about it - if you want to go to Harvard, for instance, and the annual tuition is, let's say, 100,000.  We've told Sarah she had better well have earned all, if not nearly all, "As" in her high school career.  Anything less, and they won't be interested in giving her squat, and we sure as heck can't afford to send her there otherwise, so she has to earn it on her own merits.  And thankfully, she takes that seriously.


Sarah understands this - clearly, too.  And she is busting her backside and her brain to earn those "As" and she bites her bottom lip every time she gets a "B."  I've never seen a teenager so committed to her future like Sarah and I am so proud of her for this.  When she sets her mind on something she does it - 102%.  Yep, 102%.  Why 102%?  Well, this is a funny story, but just last week she had a Biology test, and she came home and said "Mom, guess what I got on my Biology test?"  I responded "Uh, 90?"  (I always do that to her), she said "Nope."  Bob made a face and said "68?"  She looked at her dad and said "Dad! Good Grief!"  He smiled.  I said "Okay, what did you get?"  She said "102%."  "So how did you do that?"  "Well" Sarah said, "I got 100 on the test and an additional 2% on the extra credit question and I was the first one done in the class too." 

Funny thing is, is that this isn't the first time Sarah has earned additional points towards her grade over and above her already good grades.  It's like she is storing up for the winter just in case.  Just in case what? 


So, if my calculations are correct, she just earned 1,020 bucks towards the college of her choice.  I'm talking scholarship money here.  We want the colleges to be banging down her door.


And if this last year-and-a-half is any indication, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, and UNC just might be banging down her door - and after her concert and performance of her composition "Waterfall" at Queen's University on November 21st, Juilliard just might be banging down her door too.

Then she can join Mensa like her Mom ...  to be continued semester by semester.


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