Bittersweet

750-ish Middle Schoolers graduated this week

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." 


Well, "TBH" (to be honest, as the teens tweet), it wasn't either the best or the worst, and now it's over. If I had to grade BRMS over the past two years, I'd give it a B-. There were a few well-deserved As counterbalanced with a few failing grades.

The As

A couple of teachers who went the extra mile - communicated with me when N was lagging in the homework department or tried to make workable solutions to bridge the gap between his abilities and his output. They were also the ones who saw N as a very bright boy and encouraged him to participate in class.

A few U-apples

Some teachers clearly didn't care. Worse than that, they said that N didn't care either, which shows how little they knew him, earning a solid U (what we used to call an F). If they can give that grade for partially completed homework, I can give them this grade for partially-completed educating. "I reminded N to hand it in." --My (mental, non-verbalized) response "And I reminded you to remind him." In between was the guidance counselor who played middleman between my "professionally-toned" (i.e. curt) e-mails and teachers' somewhat lackluster responses.

Outside the classroom

Socially it was a mixed bag as well. This year he didn't do a single activity - no sports, no clubs. The only club he wanted to do was skiing, and he didn't get picked. Can't they make it so more kids can be involved? Encourage non-superstars to take part? Some kids aren't looking for sports scholarship... On the bright side, unlike his sister's grade, I didn't hear about (or see!!) any 8th graders drinking, and to my knowledge there weren't any drug busts (which happened a few years ago). Another mixed bag 50% - another U.

The lunchroom was overcrowded and the lines were long. With his schedule he often got to the cafeteria late, and didn't always have space at the table with his friends... so he ended up making others. I'd grade that a C, but my son would probably give lunch a B+ or A-.

The sweet side

However, he still has lots of friends, and had a great time at Hershey, bringing home lasting memories and a chocolate cover for his cell phone. And while I am not a fan of Hershey - I would have preferred something more academic-oriented, like DC - he loved it, and he loved the 7th grade environmental trip. A-.

He didn't get one detention, not one call home for behavior, never an argument or a tear (except maybe mine about homework frustration - I hear it's normal for boys not to hand in homework). I remember tearful heartbreak of unrequited love from Ernie Davis Junior High ca. 1983 - N hasn't had that experience. He doesn't know how lucky he is.

Summary

And now it's over. In the blink of an eye he is off to high school. I'm not sure who is more nervous, him or me. He can't get into a good college with the grades he got at BRMS, and he wants to be a scientist, so he has to get good grades. He's no longer a little kid - he's well on his way to becoming a man, and I guess an overcrowded BRHS is as good a place as any to navigate the world's waters.

Today he's biking to the high school - to get used to it before he takes an enrichment class there starting Monday - another step on his daily journey to independent life.

And four years from now, I may be sitting at my computer writing another bittersweet blog (hopefully with MUCH better feedback).

Honorable mention

Today's blog is dedicated to my friend's son. He just graduated from BRHS - heading to a Big 10 School.

D: Your Mamma-M is going to miss you more than you know, and guess what - you're gonna miss her too!! Best of luck in college, and remember to keep in touch with Mamma-M (and not just when you need something), Grandma "Ma" and the sisters who admire you! I don't need to remind you to keep in touch with P-Daddy - I'm sure you'll be text sports scores.

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