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Lessons from my high school senior…

I’ve been a bad blogger.
And a bad do-er.

I lost my balance in the month of October.

But that’s another story.

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to go with my [amazing] high school senior to tour some amazing schools here in Dallas. My senior has launched a not for profit organization and she’s working with the Uplift Education schools on it. (My high school senior is AMAZING and she has the biggest heart. I hope my kids turn out JUST.LIKE.HER.)

Uplift schools are mostly in low-income areas. They are public charter schools where students are assigned by lottery drawings. They are doing AMAZING things to change the face of public education. If my boyfriend started schools, they are exactly what he would do. (After seeing the schools, I’m really disappointed he didn’t take a board position with them when offered. I hope this changes in the future.)

Every school promotes a college going culture from kindergarten. Teachers decorate their door with their alma mater. The question is notif“, it’s “where”. FROM THE GET.GO.

My senior commented on how much pressure that would be for her – and I asked her to consider her life – was there every any other option for people? Would anyone from her school not go to college? The answer, of course, is no.

Chances are, these kids don’t know anyone who has gone to college. They would grow up believing it wasn’t for them. It would be unattainable. Uplift doesn’t allow that. They want those kids to know they WILL go to college and it’s a matter of WHERE. (One of the schools even has that in their lobby — not if, where.)

By the time we finished at the second school (we visited five), I stood in the lobby and wondered (not for the first time), “WTF am I doing with my life?”

And I meant it.

I knew when I left work on Thursday – after working late all week to take off – that there would be hell to pay on Friday (and it didn’t disappoint)…

and as I stood in the lobby of this school, I thought to myself,

Why? What am I doing with my life? Why am I fighting for things that REALLY DON’T MATTER when there are so many things that do?

And I pushed all those thoughts out of my mind and I focused on the high school senior standing in front of me and all the kids whose world she was going to change this year. I focused on what Uplift was doing and I was inspired and encouraged.

At their campuses where kids don’t speak a lot of English, a kid will hear their name at least 10 times before they walk into the classroom EVERY MORNING. They require their students to stand up, command the attention of the room, and then speak in complete sentences (even in kindergarten). They have students sign whether or not they agree or disagree with the teacher (or student) and stand up and give their piece. They are teaching kids to communicate and look people in the eye. When students passed us in the hallway, they stopped, shook our hands, introduced themselves, and told us what they were learning. The same was true when we entered the classrooms. The teachers were excited and passionate. It was AMAZING.

My senior and I had some good conversations about life and college and lessons I learned that I felt I should share. We shared lots of giggles and I figured out some of her stress. It was like hanging out with my cousin. She’s an amazing girl, and I can’t wait to see what she does with her life.

After I dropped her off, I headed to my boyfriend’s office and I was on Cloud 9. I was quickly brought back to Earth, and I’ve found I don’t have the will to fight over the stupid stuff anymore.

I want to be like my high school senior.
A world-changer who doesn’t know the boundaries of what she’s capable of.

I pray she never learns.