Small Talk

High school memories

January 22nd, 2016

I recently spent half a day at my alma mater, Kamehameha Schools, because my daughter applied for the fourth grade class. I have only great things to say about the school and my six years there, but I don't visit it much because life is busy.

Testing lasts nearly three and a half hours, and while I waited, I decided to reacquaint myself with the campus that was my whole life through my adolescence.

I walked from elementary school, through the middle school campus that I absolutely don't recognize anymore due to all the new buildings, up through the high school, to the very top where the girls' dorms are. It was a hike. I was happy to do it.

The bus drivers at school have always been super nice, and one stopped to offer me a ride, thinking I'd missed the bus. When I declined, he smiled and shook his head, thinking me crazy to want to hoof it.

I had forgotten the particulars of what led where, but as I turned corners I slowly remembered the paths my feet knew so well as a student and boarder. It's nice to reconnect. Things changed, but things stayed the same. I do love that campus.

Seeing the pool: SOLD!

Seeing the pool: SOLD!

Later, after Olivia got out of testing, I drove her around to see the campus. I'm sure my experience is like that of many other parents: the kid doesn't want to leave their friends, and then you have to convince them why it would be great to attend Kamehameha.

It has to be this way; if she wasn't interested in attending, she wouldn't try hard during the testing. The flip side is, there's 1,000 applicants for the fourth grade class, which means the odds of getting in are much slimmer than when I applied. So then I have to be careful to temper her hopes.

The night before the test, I showed her photos of the campus and told her about all the activities she could join, listing things she likes - art, dance, the library, the pool. She got really excited.

Kamehameha Dorm

Kamehameha Dorm

After the testing, I wanted to give her a closer look at the things I mentioned, so we jumped in the car and drove around. I stopped at my old dormitory, also named Kamehameha, and had a look inside. It sure was smaller than I remember.

I had a city view for three of my four years in this dorm.

I had a city view for three of my four years in this dorm.

While I liked boarding, I can't imagine sending my child away. I was eleven when I left home: I skipped a couple grades. I can't imagine having Olivia move away before her childhood is up.

"Look, Honey. You'd have to learn to do your own laundry. Your closet would be three feet wide. There's a window on the door so the dorm advisor can check and see that you tidied up your room before you left for class in the morning," I pointed out to her. "You need to remember you're lucky you're living at home where Mommy can take care of you."

The dorm's common area.

The dorm's common area.

It's certainly different to grow up in a dorm, but like anything in life, there's always a bright side. I learned at a young age how to fend for myself.

Olivia kept remarking how amazing the campus is, and how much she'd like to attend. I was surprised and pleased that she actually said, "Pinch me. Is this a dream? Are schools this nice?"

If she gets in, she gets in. It would be great!

If she doesn't, at least we know we tried. We'll find a way to manage her disappointment.

As for me - it was a lovely way to spend the morning, literally walking down memory lane. Thank you, Kamehameha.

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