I went to an awards dinner last night, where my son was honored, along with eight other seniors.
Eight in the state of Oregon.
He had been nominated for a college prep program his sophomore year, and we learned last night that the nomination came from two different teachers.
This program is unique because it reaches out to children that have a sort of X factor, something special that a teacher sees, rather than just grades, or the predictable jock angle.
Students apply for the two year program, and the chosen folks meet weekly to form a plan.
A master plan for how they are going to be successful in college.
Sound simple, but my goodness, what I would not have given for any kind of guidance at that age.
In addition to strategic planning, they were supported in applying for grants and scholarships, given field trips to colleges and coached on the etiquette of being successful.
Maxwell is was born diplomatic and eloquent, but this program helped point him in the right direction, in ways that I, raised by a pack of wild corndogs when it came to college prep, could never have done.
Two years is a long time for a teen to stick with something, particularly something as boring as these meetings surely were, but he did and in the end he got a $6000 scholarship, but more importantly, he will have on going support for four years, from the advocate that runs the program.
One of the very best pieces of this whole experience, is that each child was plugged into a project that was uniquely suited to their skill set.
Maxwell was able to do an internship with the city of Milwaukie, and fell in love with urban planning and the notion of local politics.
Instead of flipping burgers this year, he was making $15/hour working at city hall, and more importantly, making connections.
Mark and I have worked with him extensively to make sure he makes good choices, does well in school, feels supported, has enriching experiences, but we can use all the help we can get.
While so many people I know have the wheels falling off with their teens, I feel like we have had an amazing experience parenting him through high school and that he can have reasonable expectations for a bright future.