Sunday, October 15, 2006

Carl's Story 14: Senioritis, Graduation and then what?

Carl had talked a lot about wanting to go to college to study history or religion or something.

On the other hand, he was cutting classes and getting mediocre grades. Nothing about him indicated he was likely to succeed in college. All the basic ability was there, but there was no self-discipline.

The permenancy agency for which I work has a really good post-high school education funding system. They get kids all the way through whatever college or training they want with no debt.

There are some very strict standards for getting funded though. You have to save at least $1000 and demonstrate that you can go to school while working at least 10 hours a week. They also will only pay for a local college. Even if you get in, and even if you get good funding, for the first two years they will not help you go to school outside the area. They used to, but every single one of the kids have crashed and burned. The kids who have succeeded have been local and have maintained close connections with their foster families.

But that working 10 hours a week was too much for Carl. Filling out an application also seemed to be overwhelming. He signed up at one point to take the SAT, but he woke us up in the middle of the night because he had a horrible pain in his stomach. Hubby took him to the emergency room. They did follow-up tests later but found nothing. It took us a long time to realize that it was a stress thing.

So as high school was winding down, Carl had no plan for what to do. He had not applied to school and he was not holding down a job. There was nothing he wanted to do. Nowhere he wanted to go.

He started cutting classes. Not a whole lot, but some. He went to detention and then Saturday school. He lied to everyone about his exciting plans for college, and he did nothing.

One day I got a call from the school. For about an hour and a half I thought he wasn't going to graduate. I have never been so furious. It turned out to be a mistake and he did graduate. It is one of his favorite stories. "Remember, Mom, when you thought I wasn't going to graduate?"

Still, graduation came and went and he had no plan. He was just there, in the house, with no plan.

Part 15

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