We told him the newcomer school his first year was a dream school. He got to be with the same group of friends all day long every day. The majority of them spoke Spanish, so they became pretty tight-knit early on in the year. He never came home with homework, and all he did was complain that he wasn't able to spend more time out with his friends. We told him when he went to a regular high school the following year, it would be quite a bit different.
"You'll have homework. You'll have STAAR (state required) tests that you likely will need more than one opportunity to pass. You'll change classes and classmates more, so you won't have that close group of friends to hang out with all day. It will be 100% English, so you'll be challenged on a much harder level." He only earned half credit for his year at the newcomer school, so he'd have to take extra on-line or summer school courses to catch up.
I hate to admit it, but he proved us wrong.
By the second semester this year, he earned straight A's (only his second year in a regular high school), and he still never brought home homework because of block scheduling allowing so much extra time in class. Last year he took 3 STAAR tests and passed all of them on the first try. This year he took 2 more and passed them on the first try. He even scored advanced in US History. His teachers all spoke very highly of him, one even stating that he wished he had more students just like him. He made the JV soccer team and played faithfully for two years now, voted by his teammates as the Defensive MVP both years. He took a Drawing class this year where his teacher noticed his talent and encouraged him to sign up for AP Art his senior year. He also took Driver's Education online at home and learned how to drive a stick, then passed his driving test on the first try.
We've barely had him home for 3 years, and now here we are preparing for his senior year. We spend so much time finding new ways to connect with him, modeling wise behavior and decision making, and do all we can to mobilize him to be a productive citizen and young adult once high school is over. College is a definite, though we truly don't have much of an idea of where he'll go or what he even wants to study. He may go the community college route since it's a very viable option here where we live, but time will tell. Sometimes God brings opportunities that we aren't even thinking about, so we will trust Him to guide us through this next year and into the following year.
So, as we finished up one year of high school and then immediately took off on a road trip to visit family, we couldn't have been more blessed than to embark on Juan's senior year by having his aunt (a professional photographer) do his senior photo shoot. She's absolutely amazing, and it was just another one of those moments that reminded me of the entire family God gave him when he allowed his adoption to finally go through. After spending this special time with Chrissy, my sweet sister-in-law, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
If you're in the Columbus, IN area and need a photographer, she's definitely your gal!!!!
Here are a few of my favorites, and a few of her work in progress.
Did I mention how talented she is????
Can't wait to settle on the absolute favorites to print out for friends and family.
Ready or not, senior year, here he comes!