Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Very Wordy Post About Stuff That Probably Means Nothing to You and a Finished Quilt

Okay, wow! She did it. Our oldest daughter graduated from high school on Saturday. Such an emotional day although I didn't cry a single tear. Sometimes I cannot believe how very proud we can be of our children--words are terribly inadequate aren't they?
Broken Dishes Part Deux
I'm sure my family is rolling their eyes at me telling this story yet again, but it's important. You see, my daughter graduated with a 4.0 but was unable to be declared valedictorian. And that was her choice. A huge decision that she made about half way through her senior year. Let me start at the beginning.
Love the added texture...
The counselor messed up on the honors program back at the end of her sophomore year, not getting the proper paperwork to the kids and in the case of my daughter, throwing her out of the (small school) class scheduling loop. In order to graduate with honors (thus qualifying to be valedictorian or salutatorian), they had to sign a paper declaring their intent to complete the honors program and then of course make sure that they took those required classes in the next two years. Which means taking a class exactly when it's offered because getting out of the rotation makes everything really complicated.
It has a lovely graphic look,
very different for my quilts...
At the end of her sophomore year, my daughter was wrestling with the whole idea of being pushed into the academic tunnel vision  just because she happens to be a good student. What about personal interest? She talked to us a lot about what classes are necessary {for life and for the future} and in the end, she signed up for an art class instead of physics. Aha! When the honors program papers were finally produced during mid-semester of her junior year, she had a instant dilemma on her hands.

No physics class, no honors program. Is graduating with honors even important in the grand scheme of things? Lots of discussion ensued and with the help of the principal (not the very uninterested counselor), my daughters schedule for the next year and half were meticulously planned out so that she could complete the honors program after all. However, we had somehow planted a little seed of determination in our daughters heart that could not be ignored. A determination to allow for creativity in her life no matter the controversy.
Still enjoying the mix of eclectic prints I used...
She loved art class, actually flourished in it--wanted to take more classes. Jazz band was newly offered during her junior year and she chafed at the idea that she couldn't fit it into her schedule and still complete the honors program. By the time her senior year came along, she realized that classes such as art and band were the glue that held her together so that she could actually enjoy the required tough math, science and English classes. It absolutely was her key to just surviving high school. How could we deny her those choices? How could she deny herself those choices and experiences and not have regrets?

So much drama. And opinions. From. Everyone. But here's my point. The school has this attitude that if you don't complete the honors program, then you're not deserving of being valedictorian or salutatorian because you simply couldn't have worked as hard as the ones that did. You took the easy road. You're not as committed to success, therefore you're not worthy.
Broken Dishes Part Deux is finished!!
It's a box. A public school box that makes the school look good, but doesn't allow for much creative thinking. There seems to be an invisible line in the sand for those that are on track to be gold star achievers. Nobody ever really says it this bluntly, but here is the essence of what I believe they demand:  fit in the box or have all your hard work be dismissed and disrespected. It's not intentional and really, it's not even personal. There's just no room in the schedule to deviate from the properly sanctioned criteria. A person can catch up with the electives later on. {And yes, I'm sure it's a very different story in the larger schools.}

Basically, for us, it boiled down to my daughter bailing on the honors program the last semester of high school just so that she could experience jazz band and still stay with her art program as well. She was one pre-cal credit short of completing the honors program--absolutely her choice, but still an agonizing decision to have to make. Student that don't care about their grades might not understand all the angst involved, but for kids like my daughter, it becomes a point of pride, something they care deeply about. It's like allowing someone to paint a bulls eye on them that says something very negative about the type of student and person they really are.
Just enough hand quilting...
I don't care about the valedictorian title. My daughter made her hard choices. What I care emphatically about was the fact that she wasn't going to be allowed a gold cord at graduation or the little asterisk by her name on the program recognizing her all hard work. That made me a little sick to my stomach. So imagine my feelings when she walked up the aisle with a gold cord after all, and in the program they did honor her achievement of obtaining excellent grades throughout four years of high school. Someone came through for her at the end. She earned the respect, deserves all the credit and it was such a good day. Like I said, words can be terribly inadequate.

Anyway..... Back to quilting! Broken Dishes Part Deux was our gift to her. Well, one of them. I worked on it right in front of her and just acted like it was another one in the line-up. At some point she commented that it looked like a quilt she could see owning, but I brushed it off as wishful thinking on her part. Doesn't she have enough quilts? lol I tried to do the binding and label when she wasn't at home so she wouldn't realize how very close I was to finishing it. That would be suspicious! Very fun to surprise her with it at the celebration party. Wish all my quilts could be like this one, much better than the original planning anticipated! I think we have a winner.*wink

32 comments:

  1. Congratulations to your daughter- both on that amazing GPA and on following her heart. You must be so proud!

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  2. Audrey. You have a way with words. Thanks for being able to pinpoint one of the many flaws that we have in education. You have a lot to be thankful for over there. Give her a big hug from all of us in blogland. ;)

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  3. I'm in awe of how fast you got that quilted!! It looks amazing! I love the story about your daughter - good for her to realize the value of creativity and choosing her own path!!!

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  4. Mis felicitaciones para tu hija y para ti !!!!!
    tu familia tiene que estar muy orgullosa
    la colcha preciosa
    saludos

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  5. Congratulations to your daughter! Your quilt is a wonderful graduation gift.

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  6. Hi Audrey, congratulations to your daughter, she is obviously an amazing young lady to have had to make such tough choices at her age, and still been able to honour those things that were meaningful and important to her, and I am so very pleased that someone recognised her achievements. I think you should be - and I know you are - exceedingly proud, as would I be. And what a beautiful quilt for her you have made x

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  7. congratulations to your daughter on a wonderful achievement - arts and music count in my book and I continued to be amazed at times on what schools believe is the right move - nice of her to stick with what was in her heart. Love the quilt!

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  8. Congratulations to your daughter! I know it doesn't matter (I don't know your daughter, after all), but I'm so proud of her for making the difficult choices and following her heart. And I'm so glad that someone realized that she worked so very hard for that 4.0 GPA. I love the quilt ... so glad that she loves it, too and that the giving all worked out perfectly.

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  9. Big congrats to your daughter on all of her hard work and hard choices! Being the parent of a 16 year old girl who literally cried over the possibility of a B, I totally understand the pressure and the angst. The quilt is another beauty and its good to know it will be cherished. Good job mom!

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  10. It sounds like you do have an awesome winner in your family. Congratulations to your daughter and to her parents as well.

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  11. Congratulations on the graduation of your daughter! Great job! Your high school system is very different from ours.

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  12. Congratulations to your daughter!! It sounds like she had some hard choices to make. I don't understand why some 'creative classes' shouldn't be included in the honors program. I am so glad that she was recognized for her hard work! The quilt you made for her is wonderful, something I know she will treasure!

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  13. My brother has a similar story, topping classes in maths and science and then at the end of high school chose to do music at university, of course a lot of people were shocked but he's a very successful full time musician that travels the world. I think it's wonderful that your daughter can listen to what her heart tells her to do! That's a super gorgeous quilt, I enjoyed every photo!

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  14. I am so proud of you for standing behind her and letting her choose ….
    too many parents push in the wrong direction in mho. Glad she got to experience Jazz band it will be a memory she will remember years to come, will she remember the physics class?
    Kathie ps LOVE the quilt…
    http://inspiredbyantiquequilts.blogspot.com

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  15. Your daughter is wise to see that the glue was the music and art. I interview and hire as part of my work and I love to listen to young people who are well rounded and not just taking the expected path. Well done to her and to you for standing behind her. And beautiful quilt!

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  16. Beautiful quilt and I can tell by your description of her personality, beautiful daughter. We wonder why are kids keep their noses in electronics? It is because our school system is putting them in a box and sucking the life (creativity) out of them. Kudos to your daughter for climbing out before they sucked her life out of her.

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  17. Congratulations on the sneaky finish! It looks wonderful, and I love the mix of prints too.

    And congratulations to your daughter on getting out of high school with distinction! Sounds like her next program will be creativity-oriented. And why not, since creativity runs in the family!

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  18. Congrats to her and no wonder she needed some creativity ...after all look at her mother! :)

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  19. What a fun "surprise quilt" story! Congratulations to you all for going with what is personally important, not with following the prescribed and narrow path to fit into the box that is today's public school education.

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  20. Awww, I welled up too when I read the part that the school came through for her! She is a real winner; be so very proud of her and her gorgeous new quilt!

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  21. Beautiful! What a special gift. Congratulations to your daughter...and her parents, too!

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  22. Congratulations to your daughter.Interesting thoughts on your daughter's schooling. I have often thought that our schooling system here in Australia, is at times too rigid and not very helpful for students that wish to follow a different path to is what is considered the 'norm'.
    I remember some years ago, a SIL asking our daughter which university she wanted to attend and what subjects/course our daughter had applied for. When our daughter replied that she was not going onto university and that she would find work and then had plans to travel the world, I thought the SIL was going to faint she seemed so worried/upset that our daughter was not going onto university.
    Our daughter is now 29 yrs old, has always found employment where ever she has been living. She has just left Scotland were she has been living for 2 years and is now travelling thru Europe for 2 months. Our daughter has had the most amazing experiences and meet many people that have become firm friends.
    On our last count I think our daughter has over the years, been to approx. 22 countries and counting.
    Her experiences of living and working in different places has made her a confident young woman. I think that often 'society/schooling institutions' expects our young adult children to follow a set path that may not be the right path for them.

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  23. Very interesting post. The school systems have certain criteria they must meet, but each separate district seems to have their own rules. I am a former home economics instructor. I loved having the bright honor role students in my classes!! They brought up the whole group be being there. The "other area" classes are generally frowned upon by the "college bound" regimen. These are the classes that teach to enjoy & handle life!! I taught food prep/ child development/ sewing/ finance and housing classes. I use most of these skills every day. I wish it was just the sewing part----but alas, the other things need attention too. Congrats on your daughter (and you & hubby) making it through with honors. Thankfully someone made the decision to honor her with the gold cord for her work!! It does take a group of people to get a student through the entire process. I hope she had some fond memories of school and some of the staff!! Being a teacher is very difficult & filled with many obstacles. Seeing a student "get" the lesson or learn in a new way is a great reward. I am glad she loved her quilt---loved the comment that those are her colors!! Fun, fun, fun

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  24. Well done to your daughter. She has the satisfaction of knowing how hard she worked - and nobody can take that away! Congratulations !! Quilt is gorgeous too.

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  25. great quilt and great story
    Good for you daughter!!! Shame on schools these days. They are interested in numbers not students. wait until college. they are interested in money, not fulfilled and ready to work young people
    they quilt is really special

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  26. I really enjoyed reading your post about your daughter's education. And congratulations to her on her accomplishments. Has she decided on what she wants to do in the future? I think it will include something with creativity in some way.

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  27. Good luck to your daughter and congratulations!

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  28. Congratulations to your daughter on sticking with her life choices and seeking happiness above accolades! I think she will find that understanding her preferences and being able to make that choice with confidence will serve her well through out her life. Should she decide to go to college, I'm going to bet that the application essay she will be able to write about her interests and experiences will paint a picture of the kind of promising student any university will be anxious to have. And bless you for supporting her through all of it!

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  29. What a strong woman you have raised! She sounds like she is going to have the most awesome time in college and in life. Congratulations!

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  30. What a great post. Congrats to your daughter, she sounds like a wonderful person who will go far. So glad she got the quilt, it's a beauty.

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