Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Movin' On Up

Three of our five children are reaching milestones in their education, moving on up to new schools.  And one will be moving on out too!

#4 is finishing elementary school and will be entering junior high next year...unless I can talk her into online schooling.  I've never before thought about homeschooling in any capacity, but I would love to be #4's education coach in her difficult subjects.  More importantly, she would have extra hours to develop her filming and video-editing skills.  She has become a sixth-grade celebrity, always bringing comedy and creativity to the classroom.  Any advice on how I counter the pull of peers who want to see her at school every day next year?

Pictured with Mrs. Ruiz,
ballroom coach,

art teacher extraordinaire, 
and big-time sucker for #3.
#3 starts high school in the fall, and will be leaving the charter school to attend the much larger district high school.  She is sad to be leaving her art teacher, who is also her ballroom coach.  Fortunately for Little Miss Loophole, she found a way around not really leaving.  Last month, when #4 attended auditions for next year's ballroom team, #3 asked if she could go watch.  Wanting to support her support of her younger sister, I agreed.  Two hours later, when I came to attend the parent meeting at the close of auditions, I discovered that #3 had wheedled her way into dancing in the auditions..."just for fun," according to her.  And #4 had opted to not dance.  (I think she was intimidated by the high schoolers who were auditioning.)  The coach had already stated that team members must attend the school...though she might make an exception for boys.  After the meeting, I spoke with the coach to let her know that I did not expect her to let #3 audition, and we certainly didn't expect special treatment.  I know #3 holds a place in this teacher's heart, so I was trying to help her say no to my daughter, who was asking for special treatment.  I also told her that #4 still planned to take the ballroom class next year (if I can't talk her out of going to school), and that I would be happy to get in my volunteer hours by running the team tutoring once per week.  (I'm already running it at home every day, so I might as well change the location and dovetail, right?)
Two days later, #3 received an envelope letting her know that she made the the school she won't be attending.  Mrs. Ruiz said it was my chat with her that sealed the deal, because knowing that I am committed to helping the team lets her know that #3 will show up.  So even when I try to thwart #3's wheedling, it ends up helping her!  It must be nice for her to live a charmed life.

#5 doesn't have a huge milestone for him, but I'm ticking off milestones as he gets older.  Last night was my fifth and final 4th-Grade Utah program.  The songs and choreography are catchy, but not catchy enough that I want to hear them ever again!  #5 is a cheerful student, which may be what earned him the honor of showcasing Utah County in the program.

It's a little strange to see my youngest growing up and discovering his own talents, because he needs me less.  He started the year wanting to learn martial arts, probably to round out his super-spy abilities.  He continues to build his Nerf weapon arsenal each birthday, and used his own money last week for a manly watch with lots of features.  But jiujitsu lessons were pricey, so he relented to my wishes and gave the elementary ballroom team a he won't think of trying a different extracurricular activity next year.  I feel like I'm raising a mini, non-womanizing, James Bond!

#2 is halfway through her high school years, and is already ready to be done.  She's been at PHS for four years now, since she started attending with the gifted program in 7th grade--and it's getting kind of old.  Her sophomore year has mirrored that of many seniors as she sang for the second year with the school's audition ladies choir, Bella Voce, and danced on the audition D-Fusion team.  She completed a UVU concurrent enrollment math class and continues to thrive in every subject thrown at her. School does hold some allure for her next year, though, as she just found out that she made the top audition choir at the high school.  Next year will be a good year to be in Chamber Singers because the choirs will be traveling to New York City next spring to sing at Carnegie Hall.  Our agreement is that #2 will have the full cost of the tour saved up by mid-September if she wants me to sign the commitment for the trip.  Accordingly, she wisely chose to take a job at Mooyah's (the same week that #1 quit there), and hopes to save up lots of money this summer.

PHS senior class photo in front of the university #1 will be attending.
As our resident graduating senior, #1 is the star of this post.  Seeing her move on to higher education, where her professors won't need mom to come put in volunteer hours or chaperon field trips, is bittersweet.  I love being involved in my kids' school and education experiences.  Now, #1 is taking that completely in her own hands.  She is excited to study in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University.  Their business school has a strong entrepreneurship program coupled with required internships with local small businesses.  This is perfect for #1.  She has been courting a marketing firm that first impressed her during her sophomore year when she completed the Young Entrepreneurs Program with the Chamber of Commerce.  This firm wants her on board as an intern and just needs to find a place for her.

In the meantime, #1 is also working for Dream Dinners.  She makes reminder calls to customers and follows up with those who have shown interest at expos.  Her sunny attitude and cheerful voice make her perfect for the job.  And the flexible, work-from-home job is perfect for her and her schedule.  In addition to a renewable, full-tuition scholarship from the university, the UVU Honors Program was kind enough to extend a housing scholarship to #1.  That means she can continue to make work calls from her private room in a condo that she'll share with three other honors students.  It's a perfect setup.  The Honors Program also showers her with other perks, including field trips, tickets to all school events, and a free bus pass.  That will come in helpful...since she still doesn't have a driver's license!!!  (Did I mention she is also a great moocher when it comes to friends with cars?)  To give her some credit, she did recently renew her learner's permit--for the third time.

#1 earned a long list of awards and recognition in high school, including being a state semi-finalist for Utah's Sterling Scholar in Business and Marketing.  (It's a big-deal award in this state, with hundreds of students competing each year.)  We laughed to learn at PHS' awards night last week that BYU had also granted her a half-tuition scholarship.  That message must have been lost around the time that she declined acceptance to BYU to get almost everything free at UVU.

Most importantly though, #1 got a lot out of her education.  The three schools she attended through the last 13 years have served her well, and she has served them well.  She led service efforts as a student body officer in elementary school.  She rocked digital media and mock trial in middle school.  She found a love for performing in drama and choirs in high school.  She has worked, studied, and played--and found a great balance for all of it, which will serve her well in years to come.  Tonight, as her family watched her cap-and-gown procession, we heard her name and cheer to celebrate the educational milestone she has completed and the doors she has opened for her future.
Congratulations to #1 and the class of 2016!