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Posts Tagged ‘High school’

I am hanging out with all.things.fadra today on Stream of Consciousness Sunday.

#SOCsundayYesterday’s headlines in The Philadelphia Inquirer trumpeted some powerful words in very large type:

“Final Bells for 49”

Today’s headline:

“Grief and Anger”

What does that mean? In a nutshell, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced the closing of four high schools and closing and/or merging 45 elementary schools when the school year ends this June.

Citing drastically shrinking enrolments and escalating costs, the archdiocese said that this decision could save as much as $10 million a year. The announcement has caused palpable waves of despair.

The news coverage has been huge. Pages in the print and digital media have covered the impact on students, families, teachers, neighborhood. Not to mention proud alumni of these schools.

The Inquirer quoted teachers as lamenting “this is like a death.” Students of all ages have been photographed hugging and weeping. Parents are shell-shocked. You can just read their minds. How can this be happening?

I am not Catholic and was a public school kid myself. But it is not hard to understand the impact on families with the loss of these schools which, along with the parish church, served as the backbone of many neighborhoods. Anyone can relate to the helplessness of not being in charge of your own destiny. You have an expectation that your life will play out as planned, give or take some detours along the way. Education is one of those things that seems pretty well-scripted. It can be what you want, pretty much.

Eventually the dust will settle, the shock will settle into resignation. Students will be rerouted to other schools and make new friends. Life will go on. But the conviction that some things are forever will be shaken to its core.

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Congratulations to all the parents whose children have graduated from high school. Your darling sons and daughters are happily morphing from high school student to college freshman.  Commencement is over, yearbooks have been signed (they do still do that, right?) and the quest for a summer job is underway.

You, dear parent, have cried, exulted, worried and philosophized.  But now that your son or daughter is positioned for the next four years, I am here to tell you that it is time to plan for your future.

Consider this: no more “Back to School” nights, sitting uncomfortably in those student desk/chairs while trying to look interested in the expectations or recriminations of long suffering high school teachers. No more PTA meetings, bake sales, soccer tournaments, Halloween parades, choir recitals or  high school musicals.

What are you going to do with all this extra time?

Of course you have your 9-5 job, your gardening club, grocery shopping, fantasy football and all the other mundane tasks that we pack into our days. But be honest now. Is there a part of you that secretly yearns for the carpool line? Will you have to resist driving by the baseball field to catch a few innings? Are you still humming the tunes from last spring’s high school musical?

Good news: your prayers have been answered. These days, the gates of college are open not just to incoming freshmen, but their aging boomer parents as well.

Responding to the outcry of parents who want to retain their position in their offspring’s day-to-day lives, many institutions of higher education have adopted a full scale of parent programming and opportunities for involvement, giving you a way to extend the active parenting years a bit further. Do you have fond memories of serving on a school committee? There’s room for you. Miss volunteering at school events? Just sign up and the job is yours.

And whether your child reacts with glee or despair, you don’t have to cut the apron strings. Not yet.

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