Saturday, September 01, 2007

Getting Jeremy off to Hogwarts

This is a view of part of Echo Charter School. It's the same building where my folks graduated highschool. It's the same building where I went from K through 7th grade.

In the 1970s public schools in our area started falling prey to consolidation. The argument was that pooling the resources of these different school districts would make schooling more affordable; give the students greater resources; allow the kids to take part in a greater variety of extra curricular activities; and allow the kids a greater experience in diversity.

The reality: higher property taxes; kids away from home for even greater amounts of time; longer commutes; loss of local control; over filled classrooms; greater availability of illegal drugs; gangs; more and more expensive and expansive administration; a large proportion of students being prescribed psychoactive drugs for behavior control; more kids getting through without a solid ability to do math, read, write, or know history; and an increasing rate of teenage pregnancy.

The consolidated highschool I went to is in a landfill now; as are some others in the area.

But the city of Echo (population just above 300) kept their school building as a community resource. And there was always a hope that someday, someday they could have their own school again.

The community's patience and persistence paid off. After the Charter School bill was signed they took the opportunity.

Thursday morning we dropped Sophie and John off at Quinten and Alyssa's. We left Clara, Elsie, Louisa, and Matthew at home (with some specific clean up chores). And we took Jeremy, Stella, and Donna down to Echo.

The right rear tire on my Escort needs replacing. It's getting rather thin. In Alexandria I saw a tiny hint of the steel belt show through. (utter a prayer) I'll get it fixed in Echo.

We got to Echo in good shape. Enough time to change the tire. I stopped by the Coop where my classmate and friend Jim Goltz takes care of business. Unfortunately, he didn't have a tire the right size. He was so nice, he got all apologetic and worried.

"We mostly do farm trucks and tractors, I'm sorry, Joe."

"It's ok, Jim, we'll be fine."

Stella liked the Coop. She and Mary decided to walk to the school. I took Jeremy and Donna in the car.

We met up with Mom and Dad at the school and started filling out paperwork. Larry S, the lead instructor (maybe Headmaster might be a good term) put Jeremy through his beginning of the year interview. My aunt and uncle (Pat and Randy) showed up. My cousin, Amber, will be attending this year. They live over by Morton, MN, just down the road from Jackpot Junction Casino on the Lower Sioux Reservation.

We did a little walk-about tour for Mary. Then we went up to Mr. Gladis' room to set up Jeremy's class schedule and let Mr. Gladis know the kind of accountability we want for Jeremy.

Off to Mom and Dad's for supper. Mom and Dad decided to use this as an opportunity to fix up some of the damage that my brother and I inflicted on our room when we were kids. They also wanted to fix the upstairs hall light. And, well, you know how things go, this turned into a larger project of finishing up the unfinished North Room which we'd used for storage.

Of course, this also meant that our trunk was a bit more full on the way home. Mom sent me home with a bunch of stuff that I had stored in the North Room and some other nice things, mementos of my grandparents and of my brother. Mom had kept all my vinyl LPs and my Illustrated Globe Theater: Shakespear's Complete Works. Jeremy's got his own.

About 9pm we said good bye.

Notice, Dad's head is at an angle. I took three photos. He did this in each one. Now he's going to be all self-conscious about it. Don't worry, Dad. I just mentioned it because now I understand why Elsie and Louisa do this whenever I take pictures of them. They inherited it from you.

So, here's the "we love you, be good, help out, and do a good job in school" photo.

The oldest of the Weasley (Abrahamson) children, Bill (Jeremy) is off to school.

Mary and I got home at 2am. Got unpacked and ready for bed by 3am.

Sorry, for all you readers who don't get the literary references to Harry Potter, just ignore them.

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