First High School, Then Empty Nest

It is time to apply to high school. Yes, I know, only 10% of American children go to private school…and of those only 10% go to an independent school. For my third child, it is a given that she will go to a Catholic school, just like her older brother and sister. Her brother went to an independent Jesuit school. I fell in love with the whole Jesuit philosophy while he was there; the theme of the Jesuits is “men and women for others”…right in my heart to focus on stewardship. They focus, also, on education, and that steals my heart away too. The only Jesuit high school in the area is all-boys, so my older daughter went to a school run by the Sisters of Mercy. She got such a fabulous education that she finds college “easy”. She goes to a Jesuit university, so you know it’s not particularly easy.

My younger daughter long ago decided she wanted to go to the same high school as her big sister. On the one hand, I’m thrilled…it’s a great, college-prep school. It’s an all-girls school, which doesn’t necessarily appeal to most girls, but allows the students to focus on academics, sports, and student politics without the distraction of boys. For girls this can be huge…the difference between letting yourself shine and hiding your light under a bushel. I also love that in their first year they are referred to as Freshwomen. The downside is that it is not easy to get to from where we live. I live close to my work and the school is 30 minutes away in moderate traffic. If I drive her to school, I suddenly face rush hour traffic back to our town where I work…and when I pick her up, I face rush hour traffic on the way, if an easy ride home. It can take me an hour and a half for each roundtrip when the traffic is bad.

I had this same dilemma when I decided to send my older daughter there…but I took a leap of faith that it would all work out some how. It did work out, more or less. She found a ride the first two years. The first year worked pretty well. I’d drop her off at the other girl’s house before work and the other girl would drop her off at home after school. The second year, the other girl was a Senior and things got less reliable. We muddled through anyway, with the occasional unplanned trip to either take my daughter to school or pick her up. When she was a Junior, we had a new dilemma. I had a car for her, but she was only 15. She had a friend who had her license, but no car. We made a deal. Meanwhile, my daughter got her license on her 16th birthday and drove herself from there on out.

I have thought of sending my younger daughter to the local parochial high school. It would be a bit shorter drive for me than I have now taking her to school. It would be slightly less expensive. She’d have just as much opportunity to play sports. On the other hand, it’s bigger and co-ed. I know she’d do well there, but I’d prefer she go to an all-girls high school. I also know that she would be very unhappy if I made her go there. She has been set on her older sister’s alma mater for years and has convinced many of her friends to go there too. Some are already there, former classmates from her current school which teaches in multi-age classes.

So, what I’ve done for her siblings, I will do for my younger daughter. May she have a joyful journey through high school!

Find the Joy in the Journey…sacrifices joyfully made turn into blessings!


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