Even so, my daughter's not in the top echelon at our very competitive school. Our little town has some super achievers (backed by bona fide tiger mothers). All Honors, multiple APs, science electives plus an extra language. (Why not Latin? That sounds fun.) It makes my head hurt. There's one boy who's slated to graduate (and may even be valedictorian) at fifteen.
You do have to wonder, though, how someone, even someone who may be a legit rocket scientist, will handle the transition to college at that age. It's hard enough at eighteen.
Anyway, my point is not to brag (all right, all right, I'm a mother after all, I get to brag a little). What I'm trying to say is that high school — while time-consuming and inordinately stressful day-to-day — is not a crisis for us. I expect my daughter to do well. She may have the occasional hiccup (Freshman Honors English — ugh), but I am completely confident that she will graduate.
Many parents can't say that. And, now that my daughter's sixteen, I am often reminded that she doesn't "have to go" to school anymore.
It's true. At sixteen, she is no longer mandated to attend. (Lawmakers here in Massachusetts are debating raising that age to eighteen as a handful of other states have already done.) Yikes.
Of course, if and when she ever mentions it, she does so with a mischievous gleam in her eye. She knows she's not dropping out. I know she's not dropping out. Nevertheless, it is yet another reminder (like I need another) of how grownup she is. Adulthood is coming on fast.
I think she'll listen to me for the next two years. But, but, but ... What if she doesn't? OMG.
That's why I'm so encouraged to find this (warning: it's graphic) public service announcement from Australia. (Okay, I warned you) In it, a group of students escape from their prep school as students everywhere are wont to do.
They jump over a hedge and into a van; they head to the beach. And who wouldn't? Sun, sand, bikinis on gleaming, gravity-defining bodies. Surfing, sipping sodas, making out in the dunes. It's like a dream come true.
Until it isn't.
You see, the point of the PSA is that if you leave school ... well ... terrible things will happen. Terrible things.
I don't mean terrible things like flipping burgers or stuffing bags at Wal-Mart. I mean really terrible things, stuff that nightmares are made of terrible, Quentin Tarantino terrible. It's a veritable bloodbath on the beach. (All that's missing is a Sharknado to make the carnage complete.)
And these hapless kids could be taking a History test instead. Who knew?
It's graphic, but it's important. We need to spread the word about these risks. Stay in school, guys.
Watch the PSA. More importantly ...
Make sure your teenager watches it. If nothing else, they'll think you're pretty cool.