A few weeks ago, Michael was invited to the “Senior Departmental Scholar Awards” where he was presented with an award for Humanities Support. From what I could gather from the presentation, he received it for helping out fellow students with various difficulties. Although he’s a kind, responsible kid, I was a bit shocked to hear he’s been helping out classmates. According to him, he hates “everyone” at his high school because they’re all a bunch of rich a-holes (it’s cute that he says it like that after hearing me swear so often) who are dumb as a post because they’ve never had to do anything for themselves and all they do is smoke pot and…well, his tirades about JHS kids go on and on. Although I remind him that not everyone is like that, Don and I have met enough “rich” a-hole parents through baseball to gain the same cynical outlook on the more-affluent-than-average community that we live on the outskirts of. (Our neighborhood will never be incorporated into their pristine little paradise.) Still, I was pleased (and a bit relieved!) when Michael spoke so kindly of the kids he’s met from other school districts (through his tech school) and even more pleased when I found out he was helping out JHS students who were having problems. He’s a good kid. I wish I had the courage and character to be more like that when I was a high school student!
Last week, we got an invitation to an event to honor students who had received awards. The wording made it sound like it was for students who had already received rewards, so I thought it was just another redundant event and I didn’t see any point in going. But Michael, being the responsible kid he is, insisted because he didn’t want to let his teachers down.
At the awards ceremony, they named the top 5% of the class (our neighbor, Katelyn, made it in the top 5%!) and the top 10% and they handed out various awards. When they started handing out scholarships, which Michael didn’t apply for, and I began to think they had invited us just to add to the audience. Then I heard Michael’s name announced! He got a scholarship from Everett Community College, where he’s planning to take classes to complete his welding certification. My jaw dropped. Then I heard the amount, $1,200, and my jaw dropped more. And then the words, “per quarter” and I just about fainted. I didn’t think I could have heard right. I sat there in a daze until Michael sat back down and I looked at the certificate. It says $1,200 per quarter, beginning fall 2015 and continuing winter 2015 and spring 2016. $1,200 per quarter for three quarters. I am absolutely flabbergasted! Two days later, I’m still re-reading it, thinking that I must be understanding it wrong. I would have been extremely surprised and grateful for a scholarship of $500 and blown away by $1,200. But $1,200 per quarter? I’m…I don’t even know of a word to fully describe how I feel!
I’m so proud of Michael. He’s worked so hard and overcome so much. He was diagnosed with a pretty significant learning disability his freshman year but he’s managed to compensate for it remarkably well. To think that, with his learning disability, he got mostly A’s and a couple of B’s his whole senior year, all while also earning most of the credits he needs for welding certification…it’s amazing. He’s amazing. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to be his parents.
I didn’t want to get emotional about graduation but I can’t help but look back at how far he’s come. He was born prematurely at 2 lbs 5 oz and brought to an orphanage in Calcutta, India. At one point, he was so weak he needed a blood transfusion. At six months, he came to us, a 10 lb baby who hadn’t yet rolled over on his own. He was so tiny. And look at him now. Great kid, great student, scholarship winner and world record holder.
I’d love to take some credit but this was all Michael. He did it all on his own, with very minimal complaining about homework!