We just finished registering Sam for Paraclete High School. Gulp.
Next year we will have three kids in high school at once. Joey will be a senior, Lindsey will be a sophomore and Sam will be a freshman.
The other four will remain at Sacred Heart (provided I find the time to re-register them before the deadline tomorrow).
Now, you might think this is a story about how I can't believe how fast this time came about. After all, wasn't it just yesterday that I captured a video of Sam scootering in the front yard in his overalls, wearing Lindsey's pink sparkly princess sandals, crashing, then getting up with a big smile and starting again? It's not.
Actually, it's a story about "oh my goodness, how can we afford this"?! Turns out, it is quite a chunk of change to send three kids to a private high school. The elementary tuition we have been used to for awhile, but this jump is going to hurt.
Is it worth it? Believe me, we ask ourselves that question all the time. We think so.
Quartz Hill High School is a massive community over 4000 students. That is the population of many small towns. There are all sorts of kids that go there and, while many kids do well, I am afraid my kids might be lost there. Paraclete is under 1000 (7 hundred something I think) and pretty much everyone knows everyone else, yet it isn't so small that you feel trapped with the same people all the time.
Ironically, Paraclete is a focused college prep school, and we are highly encouraging the kids to do two years at a JC before they go to a university. With a couple of exceptions our kids are fairly average academically, and we honestly believe they will have a better high school experience (not so much pressure) and a better college experience (can get into better universities after two years with a good record at a JC). Plus, they will know better what they want to do by then, whereas I basically wasted my first two years at UCSB messing around with changing my major and being distracted socially. A bonus of this is that we will save 14 years of college tuition if they take that path. Which justifies the expense of a private high school.
Of course we are open to individual children who have different plans, and we are willing to work with them however we can. But at the end of the day, this is the path we would choose for them.
An example of how close-knit the Paraclete community is just happened today. I called the pediatrician this morning to make appointments for Bella and Tony. Naturally, I know everyone that works there. Sandy answered the phone, who happens to live on my street and whose kids all went to Paraclete. She told me how when Jay brought the registration papers on Saturday that he forgot Sam's immunization card (which I already knew because even though I filled it out I missed putting it in the pile of papers I gave him). This is not something I expect to hear when I call the pediatrician for an appointment, but you know what? I love it.
Most of the reason why it is worth it for us, though, is the faith factor. Even though many kids who go to Paraclete aren't Catholic, there are plenty who are. Very few students have been raised with no faith at all. We are happy with the religious instruction and that Jesus is ever present in whatever the school does. I am definitely not a Pollyanna who believes there are no drugs, parties, or sex happening at Paraclete. But when you know the families of the kids your kids are friends with, there is a much better chance of getting your children through unscathed.
So, we will pay out the nose for it. And eat a lot more pasta. :-)