Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Life With Comic Books: Part # 120

The current cast of characters:
Paul Howley: age 42
Mal Howley: my wife
Adam Howley: my son, age 18
Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 13


My son, Adam, went to a top-notch college preparatory high school in Lexington, Massachusetts. The school claimed that almost 100 percent of all of their students went on to college after graduation. A clearly defined schedule was implemented to put each student on a college-bound path beginning with his or her freshman year in high school. I like this approach because it prompts the students to plan in advance to achieve their goal of attending college. It teaches them to establish a goal and diligently work towards that goal. In many ways, we run our comic book and collectible stores that same way.

When Adam reached his senior year of high school he began the application process for college. Since he was interested in pursuing Musical Theatre, the process was much more complex. He needed to be accepted at a college academically but he also needed to audition to demonstrate his ability to act, dance and sing. This required him to actually go in person to each college he had interest in attending. Since we still had to get our daughter, Cassy, to school each day, and this process began while Mal was still operating her store (The Vineyard Stamp Company), it was decided that I’d go with Adam to these auditions and Mal would stay home to take care of normal obligations. I was grateful that I had a staff of dedicated employees to take care of my comic book and collectible stores while I was away.

Adam decided to apply to “The Julliard School” in New York City for his first choice of college, knowing full well that he probably wouldn’t be accepted. He figured that the audition process would be tougher there than at almost any other college and he hoped to learn from the experience.

We drove the five hours to New York City and while Adam waited for his time to audition I was surprised to see how nervous he actually was. This was unusual. Adam was normally very confident when it came to acting and singing. I tried to get him to relax by joking around about the school’s “judges.” We both thought it would be amusing to have Rip Taylor, the silly confetti-throwing comedian, as one of the judges. Our bizarre sense of humor was very similar in those days and although it probably would not have amused any one else, we didn’t care. It was funny to Adam and me. When Adam was finished with his song, dance, and short monologue, the judges politely said, “Thank you.” What they really meant was, “No thanks. Next!” Adam appreciated that they were blunt so he wouldn’t be “strung-along” thinking that he might get accepted to this prestigious school.

Adam applied to several other colleges that were among the leading schools for Musical Theatre and although he was offered a large academic scholarship to “The University of Cincinnati,” he chose to attend “The Boston Conservatory” where he was offered no financial aid at all. He may have been influenced by the fact that his girlfriend, Meridith, was also attending “The Boston Conservatory.”

While Adam’s college search was going on, we were also trying to decide where Cassy would go for high school. “The Imago School,” (where both of my children went for grades one through eight) didn’t have a high school program and we assumed that Cassy would attend the same private high school that Adam had attended. Cassy took the admission test and did quite well, so we were surprised when we were told that she would be put on a waiting list for possible admission. It seems that the school was attempting to improve the “racial diversity” and since Cassy was a “middle class white girl” she wouldn’t be helping to achieve that goal. Since there were no other private Christian high schools in the area that we thought would be a good “fit” and Mal and I didn’t want to send Cassy to the local public high school, it seemed as if we had no convenient option. Drastic measures had to be considered.

Next chapter: My father is hospitalized.

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