Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mr. Stang...Almost:)

Last night was the Mr. Stang competition at Andrew's high school.  It's a "talent" competition where senior boys compete for the title of Mr. Stang and a free prom package.  It's used as a fundraiser and the proceeds go to a group that spends part of April vacation doing community service work in the area community.

A local tux shop donated tuxes for the evening, and the 8 young men that competed last night all looked impressive!

I find it amazing that Andrew, who is the most quiet and introverted of all of my sons, chose to sign up for this competition!

When Jay and I consider how much Andrew has changed and blossomed over the last four years, we are just so happy.  Before Andrew went to high school, we never considered sending the kids to our local Catholic high school.  The kids have all gone to our Parish's Catholic elementary school, with the exception of Peter, but the cost of the high school had closed our minds off to even considering it as a possibility.

We live in a smaller town that doesn't have it's own high school.  Our kids have the choice to go to the neighboring city's high school(which we didn't consider an option because of it's size and some of the problems it has with gang issues and the lack of academic tiers), a neighboring town's high school, and a regional vocational high school(where our oldest son went.)

But kids do not fit into a 'one size fits all' category for just about anything in life.  In the middle of 8th grade, I took Andrew to check out the vocational school.  We took a tour during an open house.  Andrew looked like the Tin Man the whole time we were there.  When we left I asked him what he thought.  Andrew answered, "Do you know when you have the feeling that you just don't belong somewhere?"  It was then that I realized that the high school search wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.

A week after the vocational school visited, Jay and I took Andrew to Stang's open house.  In the hour we were there, Jay and I saw a side of our son that we had never seen before.  He walked around to the different tables, actually talked to people and asked questions, he looked relaxed and even excited.  Jay and I looked at each other and said, "Who is this boy and what did he do with our son?"

I know it was a nudge from the Holy Spirit pushing us way out of our comfort zone to show us what was best for Andrew.  So, we made the jump...and I am so glad that we did!

It hasn't been easy for sure.  The benefits far out weigh the costs, though.  One of the biggest benefits is that Jay's dad teaches at Stang, so it has been a real bonding experience with Andrew(and now Jon and next year with Sarah) to see his grandfather in a different setting and spend extra time with him(with occasional rides to and from school, lots of math tutoring, and the occasional request for lunch money when they forget their lunch at home:).  Jay's parents have been very generous, too, paying for the boys' books each year and they had paid for Andrew's first two tuition payments his freshman year.  And, as an incredible blessing, they offered to help us with Sarah's tuition next year after hearing about Jay's fluctuating employment situation....which took a burden off of Jay that was beyond a monetary value and was a direct answer to his prayers.(Funny how sometimes our Heavenly Father answers a son's prayer with his own earthly father!)

Andrew has had to opportunity to grow and stretch beyond his comfort zone that has made him even more into the young man God has created him to be.  Meeting his girlfriend, Courtney, at Pro-Life Boot Camp almost 2 years ago has been a life changing experience as well.  She encourages him and sets an example for him in all the ways she is involved in different groups and opportunities and has challenged him to do more on his own.  Since they are at different schools, doing things just to be with her can not be a motivation either!  I see in their healthy relationship mutual respect and the fruit of that is the way they are becoming the people that God wants them to be...not just the person that their "other half" wants them to be!

It's a beautiful thing that I pray continues...and I'm so glad that they made better choices than we did at their age!

Last night was a gift to see Andrew continue to grow and stretch!  I am grateful for the choice we made to send him to Stang!  I am glad to see that Andrew uses the opportunities that are available because of the sacrifices we have made to give him this education!  I am most grateful that God plays such an important part in his life!

Even though Andrew finished 2nd runner up(and he choked a little on the question and answer part!), he gained some incredible memories!...and so did I!

Let me share a few:).....
(Andrew is on the right...they danced to the One Direction song "That's What Makes You Beautiful"...

Andrew with his second biggest fan......

....and with his biggest fan!

Looking good in a tux(but he could use a haircut!)

The best part for Courtney is that Andrew can no longer use the excuse that "I don't know how to dance" ever again!  With a dance at Courtney's school scheduled for tonight, he will have a chance to put all that dancing practice to good use!