My husband and I have been blessed with talented sons.
They are bright, articulate, creative and motivated, and they love more than anything to excel in sports, which presented us with some options when it came time to choose a high school.
We could have let them follow their junior high friends to the next level, the local public school. We could have settled and went against what our minds were pulling us to do. We have chosen to pursue the academic/athletic excellence of a private school. We have chosen to send them to a private school for a more favorable teacher-to-student ratio. We've chosen to guide them in a direction we feel will best benefit them in their future.
It requires a full-time, family commitment to the curriculum, many long nights-into-mornings of homework, it means we will have to provide transportation to and from school every day.
We are doing it for one reason: Our responsibility as parents is to give our children the best possible chance to succeed in life, and preparing them to receive a college education is the cornerstone of that creed.
In junior high they expressed a desire to find out more about this school, we followed are minds and hearts and decided to follow what we feel. The question is, 'is their athletic aptitude great enough to serve as a gateway to a college education?' For this decision some feel we should be commended others feel we are backstabbing our community and have chosen to ostricize us as well as our children for it.
Those sports, for now are basketball and football. To get the best football/basketball instruction available in our area, to test their skills against the most difficult competition, and to have the chance to be seen by scouts and coaches representing the nation's elite college programs. All this, while getting the academic attention necessary to meet NCAA entrance requirements.
In my opinion no athletic program in the our current school district has displayed the resources, ability or desire to match the complete commitment this school has shown to pursuing excellence in sports.
Anticipating the comments, I would like to point out that I am not on the their' payroll. I am not the school's head cheerleader. I do not serve as the sports information director.
But I do understand the sporting climate in our area, and how by building itself into a regional powerhouse the school has opened itself to criticism, including facing many of the same accusations hurled at some of the other privates in our area for basketball and football over the the last two decades.
It's so easy to blindly accuse a private school of recruiting players, when the truth is that the exact opposite is occurring -- players and their parents seek out and recruit themselves to top programs.
Every student at every private school, whether an athlete or not, resides in a public school district. For each parent, the private school provided something for their child not offered at their designated public high school.
But somehow, when that primary reason for enrolling at a private school is a sport, it's deemed seedy. Parents and schools are accused of losing perspective when in fact they're the ones seeing the big picture with clarity, understanding that whether in the classroom, the athletic field or in life, the goal is the same -- to struggle, sweat and strive to learn, because only then can you gain the confidence necessary to perform at the highest level in life's difficult situations.
You enroll your young athlete at childrens' high school knowing the time commitment can be overwhelming. There are long practices, summer leagues, perhaps travel ball, and it all comes on top of and after meeting the school's academic requirements.
...to be continued