The Great Big High School Debate


UPDATE: Raph was accepted at both schools at which he applied and has chosen to go to Westerford. 🙂

So the time has come. With R turning 13 in less than a week (eee!) the next big decision on our radar is which high school will he go to next year.

This particular topic is number one on the list of all the parents of his class mates, and other moms I know who have Grade 6 and 7 children. And it’s quite interesting how each mom (I would say parent but on the whole it’s moms who talk about this stuff) has a different approach to the Great Big high School Debate:

1. The moms who want their boys at the all-boys schools have had their kids’ names on the short list since they got home from the delivery room 12 years ago. Their boys have been to interviews at every possible school over the past few weeks and there is little doubt that all of the schools will offer them places. These moms love the whole posh school vibe; the uniforms with hats; the extensive lush green sports fields in the shadow of Table Mountain; the possibility of boarding…

My take: I can see the charm, and if your son is sporty then I reckon he will love these schools. However my high school boyfriend came from a school like this and the boys were told from day one they were the great hope of the future of the country; that they are golden demi-gods. Said ex boyfriend is now an ambulance driver in the UK. Also: R is not only not great with ball sports but he actually ducks if a ball comes near him. He would be eaten alive.

2. The moms who want their kids at the local school because it’s a las to drive over the mountain and they’d rather their boy and his mates had their first beer in their garage (this could happen at their son’s 13th birthday next month). It’s not as if their son is ever going to become a doctor anyway.

My take: I definitely see the practical pro’s of having R at the local school and I like the fact that the snob factor is pretty much absent. The fact that the gangster factor is quite prevalent is possible cause for concern…

3. The moms who are taking out second mortgages on their homes to send their child to the arty, free thinking school in Kenilworth – it doesn’t matter if they have to work every weekend to make up the extra needed for the over R50 000 a year school fees, nothing else will do for their arty, free thinking child.

My take: Honestly, I would LOVE to send R to a school like this and am just jealous that we cannot afford it and in fact both G and I think it’s a ridiculous amount to spend on a school, no matter how good it is.

So where does this leave us? R has been to just 2 interviews and next week we hear if he’s been offered a place at either or both. If both, we have a big decision to make. It comes down to the local school (where G went, and as he says, he’s fine. Then again he’s a very different person to R…and who wants their kid to be just ‘fine’?) or Westerford, which is where I would love him to go BUT the distance, the travel and the sport are all factors that need to be considered.

In the end I know this much is true: The best and worst schools have drugs, bullies and bad teachers. The drugs may be different but they will be there. The bullies may operate differently but they will be there. Every school has its amazing dedicated teachers and its bored, or boring, or sadistic teachers in among the mix. What will count more than where R ends up is how good we as his parents have been in preparing him for this next phase of his life.

Still bloody scary tho. But also quite exciting!

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One Response to The Great Big High School Debate

  1. You’re fantastic parents who have raised a very special kid… the teens / high school will be scary, but you’re on the right track!! Xx

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