People Leave & Kids Shed Kid Status

I’ve lived in Pasadena over two decades. I stay, other people go. Several times, I’ve had really good friends move to other parts of the country, leaving a big hole in my social circle. I’ve grieved and then moved on. Actually, I believe that some kinds of loss, like the loss of a friend through moving (or death), are permanent. One never really ‘gets over’ the loss. It is simply loss.

One of my good friends is moving back to France. She met a great guy, and the long-distance approach isn’t working. They want to be together. I’m going to miss her. Yes, we’ll e-mail, but it won’t be the same as getting together in person (at her cute beach-adjacent apartment in Redondo).

Kids also grow up. When mine were little, it seemed like 9 more years until high school graduation was an eternity. Now I’m counting the years AFTER high school graduation. Scary.

My son is going up to UC Berkeley today. He’s transferring in from Pasadena City College. Cal didn’t have room for him last fall, so he waited until now. The proud momma in me could not resist passing this on, even though he’s the one that did the work to get there. (Well, I did volunteer quite a bit.)

Since he spent part of his educational career in Pasadena Unified schools, and they will be so pleased that one of their own is matriculating at a UC school, I thought I’d recount a bit of his journey.

At this point, C plans to major in philosophy.

Believer in liberal arts education that I am, I haven’t asked the “what do you want to do with that” question yet.

Here’s the run down.

Cottage Co-op Nursery School – One of the more affordable nursery schools since parents volunteer there to make the thing run. A very nice place, and I still run into other moms from there around town. C spent two years here.

Aria Montessori – More ‘academic’ than my ideal Montessori, but I knew C could handle it. One year here. (I switched him due to my work schedule and the fact that his older brother was already down the road at Allendale.)

Allendale Elementary – Now closed due to declining PUSD enrollment, though there is still a link to the school on this PUSD web page (scroll down to Uniform and Dress Code standards). Hasn’t the PUSD web master figured out that Allendale is closed??? This kind of seemingly small detail bugs me. If they can’t get their own list of schools right, what can they do?

In any case, the stars of Allendale were Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Ono. Honorable mentions go to Mr. Hironaka, and also Mrs. Golden and Mrs. Notice, who taught my older son. Mrs. Norman was great but she moved to the Bay area. Ouch.

Mrs. Walker now teaches at McKinley School. She is truly one of PUSD’s finest, a previous recipient of Pasadena Rotary Teacher fo the Year, and the highlight of my PUSD parent-volunteer experience. Unfortunately, that highlight came in first grade. C finished first grade in 1993.

Washington Accelerated Learning Center – (Now Washington Accelerated School) – Back when C went there, the administration was trying to make it a true accelerated school which I thought was great. Then the principal got frustrated with the folks at 351 S. Hudson, and she was wooed away by some school district up north. The accelerated name stuck but I don’t think the accelerated school practices did. Too bad.

Marshall Fundamental – one semester – This was kind of a knee-jerk reaction because we weren’t sure who the 6th grade teacher at Washington would be. Turns out Washington hired a great teacher, and the Marshall experience didn’t warrant the drive.

Washington Middle School – Ms. Minkler (sp?) was awesome. Too bad she’s no longer with PUSD. Hats off to the GATE staff at WMS too. And the wonderful nurse, Marybeth Lauderdale.

Extra-curricular stuff: C did Odyssey of the Mind one year, and was in that big math day thing at Pasadena City College a couple of times. (Do they still have that?) Came in 2nd in something…can’t remember what.

Both of my kids were in Washington’s chorus and participated in those big musical theatre productions that happen every spring (amazing stuff–you should go). They also were in the GATE Summer Musical Theatre Workshop (an experiment in controlled chaos–imagine 80+ kids on stage all at the same time).

C then auditioned and was accepted into LA County High School for the Arts, a Los Angeles County Office of Education school at Cal State LA. LACHSA was a bit of a mixed bag…they couldn’t keep a Spanish teacher, there was some “drama” among the staff in the drama department, and no shortage of ‘substances’ available to try.  Overall, it was a good experience (and the price was right).

In typical teenage rebellion fashion, C failed English a couple of times so went to summer school at John Muir HS. It was drudgery, but he managed to land there two summers in a row.

Then Los Angeles City College (three semesters I think), then Pasadena City College.

Whew.

Best of luck, C.  Your proud mum loves you.

One Response to “People Leave & Kids Shed Kid Status”

  1. Susan Carrier Says:

    Congratulations to you both!

    I know at least two other current UC Berkeley students who went K-12 at PUSD and two UCLA students from the district. Ironically, admission to these two UCs has been more elusive for friends who sent kids to the fancy private schools or lived in the “right” zip codes (ie San Marino, LaCanada, etc.).

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