I never really wondered where I’d go to high school. If I got in, I was going to Franklin. If I didn’t, we’d worry about it then. I got in, so that was that – and I had four incredible years there.
From the time my older daughter was in preschool, my end game was the same: If my kids got in, they were going to Franklin. If they didn’t get in, they’d stay at St. Martin’s. Yes, I was the crazy person who was emailing the Franklin admissions director when Ruby was in third grade – and now that I work at my alma mater, I am now the person writing those people back while bugging the admissions director in person.
Ruby, though, has other plans. I don’t know if this is because she doesn’t want to spend her days at the same place I spend mine (I’ve assured her I was only teasing when I said that if she went to Franklin, I would use the all-school PA system to request that she report to the front office for a hug) or because she just wants to keep her options open.
All I know is that I dropped her off at Dominican today for a Spend A Day, and I am so not ready.
Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, the New Orleans Archdiocese standardized Catholic schools so that high school now included an eighth grade, meaning my seventh grader is tentatively looking at high schools now. And Ruby, who is not even Catholic, is trying to open my eyes to the benefits of single-sex education.
I get it. I see academic benefits to an all-girls school, and if I’m being honest, I really love the uniforms, the rituals, the weird class mascots (I don’t know what Pink Panthers and Ragdolls and Skips and Macs really signify, but I think it’s cool). It’s very New Orleans; a friend of mine did her gender reveal not with the traditional pink and blue but with crimson and gold for a boy (Brother Martin) and black and white for a girl (Dominican).
So I see the appeal, clearly. Where I get confused is how much of a role I let my 12-year-old play in the decision-making process. It’s her life, obviously, and over the next several years, she will spend a tremendous amount of time at whatever school she chooses. But she is just over a decade old: What she wants now is not necessarily what is best for her (see also, Popeyes for every meal, YouTuber as a career aspiration). I’m letting her visit Catholic schools, but ultimately, I feel like I, as the parent, should make the final decision.
And I still would like her to attend my alma mater. Just as my friends who went to Ursuline or Cabrini or Jesuit want their kids to attend the schools they attended, I like the idea of my daughter following in my footsteps – even if the foot in question didn’t wear a saddle shoe.
What would you do? Let your kids decide? Put your foot down and insist they go where you want? Make a family decision? And if you went to Catholic high school and loved it, please let me know where and why!