My Son, the Scholar
We’re into the home stretch, about to close another chapter in our life.
Today, Robbie completed his final full day of classes as a High School student. Finals begin tomorrow and one week from today, he’ll be a graduate.
Today was also the final day of Aquaculture, the magnet school he has been attending as part of his studies for the last three years. I can easily tell you that this program was the turning point in his academic life so I see it ended with mixed feelings.
When he first told us about it in the spring of his freshman year, he was a struggling student who had been mainstreamed out of special ed. He didn’t have the coping skills and work ethic to really dig into his studies, nothing seemed to motivate him and we were rather worried about what the future might hold for him.
To see him excited about something, even marine biology, gave us hope. We attended a meeting to hear more about it followed by an Open House at the school, just over the border in Bridgeport. He’d attend each morning, along with kids from two other schools, and bus back to Fairfield in time for the rest of his academic schedule. He’d miss things like Gym, Health and Homeroom but it was a good tradeoff if it meant he could learn something.
Walking through the school, and seeing him get excited by the prospects gave us some hope so we signed him up.
He had some terrific teachers, made some friends from other towns but more importantly, Robbie got motivated, and interested. (He and some students accompanied a beloved teacher for a day trip across the Sound to Port Jefferson during Spring Break – must be some teacher!) Thanks to one teacher Robbie really perked up and finally figured out he’d like to train to become a high school science teacher.
His grades overall improved, his attitude and his work habits also improved dramatically. (It wasn’t until the end of 10th grade, beginning of 11th, that I also turned myself around academically so the parallels between father and son remain eerie.) He got into the schools he wanted and remains on track.
Yesterday, at the Aquaculture Awards ceremony, he was shocked to be called to the stage to receive their highest scholarship for Best Academic Achievement. Three years ago, we never would have imagined that possible.
Our pride in him and his hard effort remains immeasurable.