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Beth, pride, and The Gators

My daughter has been been accepted by the University of Florida.

I am bursting with pride. As Yoda might say, “A proud father I am.”

I admit it’s a touch misleading though. Beth is just finishing ninth grade. She is not graduating early and she is not enrolling with the freshman class at UF next fall. She will be dual-enrolled in college courses next year, but they won’t be at UF (130 miles away). However, she will be one of forty or so kids living on campus for a week this summer to explore scientific areas of study, meet the professors who teach them, and see the research they do when they’re not teaching.

I think the concept of the program is fantastic. I think a lot more kids should have the same opportunity, but I also understand the desire to bring in kids who really want to be there and will get the most out of the experience. I think there’s a way to balance larger enrollment with high enthusiasm, but this isn’t a post about the responsibilities of our public institutions of higher learning – or where we place those institutions on our list of state priorities.

Good thing too – my temper has been running thin lately.

Although I thought Beth’s essay was pretty good (I couldn’t resist a few suggestions to make it better), her grades are perfect, and her letters of recommendation were glowing, I always assumed she wouldn’t get in. I think she’s a capable, confident, smart, and strong young woman who can and will do many things. But Florida is large and forty is small.

Maybe it’s a relatively small thing, but I feel like we won the World Series. I feel like looking up those teachers who treated her no better than the students who bullied her and telling them, “Look at my daughter and see what she has done. Now know this: she has done it in spite of you.”

Where once there was gloom, she is a bright, shining star.

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