Here in New Orleans when someone asks you where did you go to school, you better reply with what high school you attended. If you reply with a college, we will know you are an outsider. I went to public school and that is something that I keep to myself. This is a city of Catholic and private schools. If you want to be included in certain circles you keep your public school education to yourself.
Being from New Orleans and going to public school, my dream was that my kids would go to private school. And if the people I have been talking to are any indication, my kids’ dream will be that their kids go to the high school they went to. Cycle continues.
Amber moved to a Catholic school at third grade. Before that she went to a private school without a religious affiliation. It was an adjustment for both of us. She was entering a school where most of the students had been together since they were 3 yrs old. Now on our 2nd year and Sam joining the school we are in the groove. Our newness still comes through on occasion, but that should wear off in a year or 2. As one mom reminded me, I have 7 years at this school. I can’t be new forever, right?
What I didn’t expect was the high school talk to start so soon. You see around 5th grade the kids start looking at high schools. And from what I am hearing it sounds like the experience that most kids looking at colleges go through. Amber started her talk of which high school she picked last year in third grade. As far as I can tell, she had some catching up to do with the other girls. It scares me. All the what ifs come flooding in and I am left in a corner sweating clutching brochures to high schools.
Amber has expressed her preference and it seems to be the preference of the majority of girls and moms at the school. It is the “IT” school. So the talk begins, “Hey Amber, if you want to go to that high school, you better make sure you study.” ”AMBER! They don’t accept girls who act like that to that high school.” I have found the new version of the Santa threat. Of course, all this perks Amber’s ears for a nanosecond and then she goes back to avoiding that 800 page Harry Potter book she just had to read for her AR test that is coming up in 3 days.
I don’t need this stress. Public school was simple. Oh you live there? You go here. Sure there were knife fights in the playground and you learned to hold your bladder all day for fear of what might befall you in the bathroom, but, at least, you didn’t have to worry about getting into the perfect high school. You went to the school you were told and you fell into line like everyone else. There was no worrying about the perfect high school leading you to the perfect Louisiana University (subtle, eh) and all of that leading you to the perfect job where you will lead the perfect life and live happily every after. One false move and the delicate house of cards based on the right school since birth will come tumbling down and their lives will be doomed forever. See the pressure I am under. I just started to relax after my world wind tour of every Catholic elementary school on both sides of the river and now I am back to panic mode. The happiness of my kids’ lies in my hands. One false move and they will be living in my house forever and I will never have my dream of a kid home where I get to do what I want and the house stays clean. Parenting in NOLA is hard, y’all.