Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Colleges That Change Lives fair

Yesterday was a full day. We started with Mobile Meals. Mid-afternoon, we traveled 15 miles to The No Jane Austen Literary Society's monthly meeting. This is the peer-led book club Yakov started last fall. There are 4 regular members and one new one yesterday. They discussed The Old Man and the Sea.

Finally, Yakov, Shoshie and I traveled 90 miles to a Colleges That Change Lives fair. Yakov has been stuck on UNC Chapel Hill, certainly not a bad choice, but unimaginative. I took him to a large college fair locally last fall and it was a waste of my time. He just stood around. Questions? He didn't have any questions.

We had a specific school to check out last night, St. John's. This Great Books program sounds like the perfect fit for Yakov, a boy who reads Machiavelli for fun, whose biggest difficulty in homeschooling has been to find peers to discuss books. As the introduction to the fair ended, the director mentioned, "We hope the St. John's rep has arrived. He has been held up in Atlanta because of tornado warnings." Oh, no. I dragged these two, one complaining he had work to do, across the state in the rain and now we aren't going to accomplish our primary goal.

So Shosh and Yakov went into the big room with all the school tables and promptly saw another Young Judaea t-shirt. It was worn by their friend, Too Short. I don't know his real name and I don't know if that is his usual nickname or a YJ specific one but lots of hugging ensued. It reminded me that their activity with this worldwide organization will often result in recognizing friends and acquaintances wherever they go, or at least wherever they and other Jews go.

Finally they started looking around at the schools. The energetic rep from Rhodes College caught their attention. "Is there a Jewish presence on campus?" "Yes and there is a large Jewish population in the city." Like Grandma. "Mom, did you know about Rhodes?" "Uh, yeah. My first house was about 3 blocks away. Big E's babysitter during my medical school was a Rhodes student. She lived with us. She even moved to Connecticut with us." I had shown them Rhodes when we were in Memphis but last night they "saw" it for the first time. And believe me, the campus is even more beautiful in person.

They wandered around for awhile, talking to different reps. The Goucher College rep was very enthusiastic. Since I waited in the hallway most of the time, watching for the St. John's rep, I'm not sure which school tables they visited.

After an hour and a half, we were giving up. The fair director answered many of our specific St. John's questions, what do graduates do, differences between the Santa Fe and Annapolis campuses, etc. Before we began our long drive home, Shosh took a potty break. Fortunately! Because here he came, harried and no doubt tired, faced with several students like Yakov, who had been waiting, hoping to talk with him.

I'm sure Yakov hogged the man's time at first. And unlike many of the other reps, he was understated. But I think Yakov got a feel for the program and it appeals to him. And Shosh, currently thinking about being a park ranger, thought the Santa Fe campus's well-regarded Search and Rescue team sounded cool.

This year sounds like a challenging one as we prepare our first homeschooler to graduate and get into college. Then we'll do it again the next year. PRM


Aunt H said...

Rhodes! Rhodes! Rhodes!


Aunt H

Ruth in NC said...

You're spending all me money!!

Kathryn said...

I just wanted to let you know that I am a St. John's College - Santa Fe student who enjoys your blog. If your kids have any questions about the school that they would like answered from a student's perspective, I'd be more than happy to give you my email address and try to help.

Ruth in NC said...

Kathryn, I would love to have your email address. You can send it to me at prmanning@triad.rr.com

My son would be perfect for St. John's but we do have some questions.

Thanks. Ruth