John Bender of Breakfast Club and "It's been a banner year at the Bender house!" fame.
So we've had quite a week at our house, and buttons are bursting all over the place. Allow me to brag:
Number One Son (we only have one, but I may have watched too many Charlie Chan movies as a kid) has not only had a stellar senior year in high school, doing very well academically, becoming the Drum Major for the Football Marching Band and serving as a captain on the swim team for his second year, but last week was particularly excellent, as lots of that hard work is starting to show returns.
He's applied to several schools, none of which could I have been accepted to when I was his age. He hasn't heard back from all of them, but last week he found out he has been accepted to two small, private schools in the Midwest (Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, Minnesota). He's still waiting on a couple others, including his #1 choice (at the moment), the University of Chicago.
Then, on the Monday after Christmas (as we returned home to a mailbox stuffed with Christmas letters and other mail), a letter was waiting from Gustavus, announcing that he received the Dean's Scholarship, which is renewable for four years, and is worth $15,000 per year. We were - and still are - flabbergasted by the cost of college, and particularly by this award.
Here he is giving a speech after accepting the Drum Major Award at the conclusion of the 2010 Football Marching Band season (FYI, the band did much better than the football team):
Now Number One Daughter, like her brother in that she is an only daughter and is equally as successful academically as her brother (her GPA is actually higher than his, and she's only a junior), was recently named as the lead in the competition One Act Play at school. She's an absolute natural on stage, and pours her heart and soul into her parts. Two years ago she played the Julia Roberts part from Steel Magnolias, and literally brought tears to the eyes with her performance.
Not content to just be talented in the classroom and on stage, she is also an excellent writer. Just last week she received notice from Bemidji State University, a small state school in northern Minnesota, that an entry she submitted was selected for publication next spring, only one of 60 or so out of more than one thousand entries. As an added bonus, her work was chosen by the faculty reviewers as the winner of the Toni Morrison Prize for Fiction. She'll have a chance to read her work aloud for the panel and an audience of admirers later in April.
Sure is a good thing drive and intelligence skips a generation.