Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Transitions

Christian, our 16 year-old son, has been quite the trooper in our move to Guam. Our relocation has created a LOT of changes for him. First, he had to leave the Christian high school that he loved, along with the close friends he had been in school with since 6th grade. Once on Guam, he was placed in a private Christian high school where the vast majority of the students were Chamorro (the native people group here). This presented a distinct cultural change, but Christian lived up to the needed adjustments. Unfortunately, after a semester, it became apparent that this school lacked the academic challenge that Christian needed. So, once again, we needed to make other educational arrangements for him. But it appeared there were no viable options on Guam. The only school on the island that would be a good academic fit for Christian's particular needs was absolutely out of the question for us financially. We came to the sad conclusion that we would have to send Christian back to California to live with his grandparents where he could commute to his former high school. However, before making this drastic decision, we decided to take a leap of faith. We would call the elite college preparatory high school on Guam and ask if they could give Christian a scholarship, trusting that God would provide the means for him to attend this school if it was His will for him to remain on Guam. After testing Christian for several hours, St. Johns was pleased with what they saw and offered Christian an INCREDIBLE scholarship. We were amazed that God provided the means for Christian to attend a school that we never imaged one of our children being able to attend. Although we were thrilled with this wonderful opportunity, it did represent yet another transition for Christian. This time, the transition was one of connecting with students of mostly Asian descent, from the "upper crust," and students extremely serious about their education. EVERY St. John's graduate is accepted into a college, with a significant number accepted in America's top universities, such as Cornell, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, etc. St. John's students average in the top 20% on national scholastic achievement tests, with an average College Board SAT entrance exam of 1260. One out of every 10 of St. John's graduates over the past 14 years has been a National Merit Scholarship Finalist or Semi-Finalist! And so, Christian's days have been filled with non-stop studying including needed tutoring for his international math class.

It appears, however, that history is not as tough for Christian as math. For his Guam history class, Christian submitted a paper about the plight of the few Americans living on Guam when Japan took the island the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed. He didn't fully realize it from the start, but all class papers were submitted to a school-wide Guam history competition, the winner of which would be submitted to the island-wide competition, the winner of which would be subsequently submitted to the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland. The look on his face indicated his genuine surprise when he announced to us that he had won the school-wide competition and that his paper was St. John's contribution to the island-wide competition. Thoughts about Washington DC this coming summer began to dance in his head, only to be met with the instant reality check that no new-resident haolie (white) kid could possibly win against Guam's native competition. Thus, toward the end of his Easter break, his jaw hit the floor when he read an email congratulating him on winning first place in the Guam National History Day competition. So, maybe international math is a struggle, but history is another
story; a story still being written with the next chapter featuring an all expense paid trip to the East Coast in mid-June. Congratulations Christian!

3 comments:

Farnsworth Forum said...

Way to go, Christian. I always get excited when good things happen to nice people like you. God bless you in your studies!
Ned

SLS said...

Christian- That is great! I have no doubt that your parents are very proud....but you have GOT to be very proud of yourself. Have fun in DC.

Linda said...

Congradulations Christian! Wow! you really took that new school by storm. Enjoy that trip to DC in June- you earned it!
Linda