Sunday, November 18, 2007

Maggie # 4 -- High School and Beyond

By the time Maggie reached eighth grade, she had taken all the math her middle school offered. (After she learned pre-algebra on her own, they decided to let her take eighth grade algebra in seventh grade; none of the other parents could complain that their child was "just as ready".) Since the high school day started almost an hour and a half before the middle school, they signed her up for geometry at the high school, and every morning she went to school with Rosie. After her first-hour geometry class, I picked her up and drove her the two miles to the middle school. Two miles by road, that is. As the crow flies it would have been less than half a mile back door to back door, but since our town is on the water, there is a nice big canal in the way, and you have to cross where the bridges are. So instead of being able to let her walk in nice weather, I went to school every day. Two schools, as a matter of fact.

Taking geometry before freshman year was a blessing in disguise to Maggie, since it meant that she was able to take second year algebra and trigonometry as two separate classes. For some reason lost in the mists of time, at my children's high school students on track for taking calculus are encouraged to take what's called "Three/Four--Trig", that is, a whole year of each crammed into one academic year. But that would have had Maggie taking calculus as a sophomore, and leaving her with only Statistics available for the next two years. And if she had decided she wanted more advanced math, the school district would have been forced to pay her costs at the local community college. So she was required to take a full year of each, moving at a slower pace. Since she took a rigorous academic load all four years, and unfortunately has inherited/acquired my tendency toward perfectionism, having "easy" classes requiring reduced effort was good for her!

Remember that all this time Maggie was taking dance lessons, including the crazy "year of the scholarship". She also had discovered in herself a passion for leadership/politics and was very active in the Student Council, serving as president her senior year. And she competed on the school's Quiz Bowl team, which was good enough to take part in the state tournament all the years she played. S
enior year she was co-captain.* Our whole family has been actively involved in the pro-life movement since Rosie was a baby, and Maggie and her best friend "Jo" decided to sponsor a display of "the crosses", one white cross for every two babies killed in the US by abortion each day. (These are links to articles about similar displays.) They did all the planning and arranging for permission, rounded up the voulunteers, and made it happen. The only adult participation was that her Dad and I did the driving to pick up and drop off the crosses on days when Maggie and Jo were in school.

Summers probably were a big relief for Maggie; a slowing down of the rigorous pace she set for herself. The summer between her junior and senior years, she attended the same summer session at Christendom College that Rosie had. To no one's surprise, she had a marvelous time, including making several new friends with whom she has maintained contact, and came back with the distinct intention of going to Christendom for college.

I don't mean to imply that she didn't like Rosie and Arwen's school (Arwen had transferred to Rosie's tiny college in the middle of her [first] junior year.) But the school was changing. As Arwen described in Rosie and Anthony's story, a new campus had opened in Florida; far away and ever more expensive. But after changing her mind about a thousand and one times (or was that a thousand and two), Maggie decided to go to college in Florida. I could give you reasons, but I simply don't know which one persuaded her to finally commit!

Maggie has spent two years at the Florida campus, doing very well academically (she was able to take an invitation-only humanities seminar), and being terribly homesick. Arwen and Bryan donated some frequent-flyer miles so that she could come home more often. But she's gotten a little more used to being away from us -- right now she's attending her school's "semester abroad" session in Austria, and having an over-all good time. Of course email and IM help, and it doesn't hurt at all that her techie brother George managed to set it up so that we can phone her dorm by phoning a number in our area code. Three cheers for Skype!

Maggie will be home a week before Christmas, and we are looking forward to it mightily! Something is lacking in our family when she isn't home. I miss you, Valentine Girl!

*Arwen was also quiz bowl captain as a senior. When I someday get around to writing "Mom's eye" posts about her I'll talk about it.


Jen said...

Sounds like you must have been busy with all those activities.

I'd love to hear more about Maggie's time in Austria if there is anything to share. I wish my school had offered a program like that.

Tracy said...

I'm enjoying learning about your family. I hope you keep writing after November!

Marie said...

Maggie was a terrific roomate in Florida! SHe missed home so much. We at the campus were the blessed ones to have her smile and cheer around!