It's the start of another school year. For Lesley-Anne, moving to sec 4 doesn't signify much change as she won't be doing her O levels. Don't take it to mean there will be less stress though, she's already bracing herself for another whirlwind year.
For Andre though, 2013 meant making the eventful transition from primary to secondary school and in his case, it was even more suspenseful as the school he would attend was up in the air all through to the very last day of 2012.
What happened was this:
Andre was posted to School A which he was very comfortable with, as many of his friends were there. We like the environment there, so it would seem like an open and shut case. However, we had one issue with School A - it had a rather lackadaisical badminton CCA.
For many parents, this would not be a big deal but for us, it was a niggling concern. While we're not claiming that badminton is something that has to take centrestage in Andre's life, we have found that it gives him focus. The structure and rigour of badminton training, and being part of a team with similar sporting goals go a long way towards keeping Andre grounded. We felt that this was especially important for the critical teen years and if Andre had stayed at School A, he might end up coasting aimlessly.
Even before the school posting results, Andre's badminton coach had recommended that he tried appealing to School B, which has a decent badminton programme. We had previously attended School B's open house and were pretty impressed by the school ethos and the principal. We had also spoken to parents who had kids in the school and the general feedback was that it has dedicated teachers who take a real interest in the students.
Andre's coach made her recommendation to School B's teacher in charge of
badminton, Mr L, who incidentally is very invested in promoting the sport and building up his school team. Andre went for a trial where he enjoyed playing with the school team tremendously. He must have made an impression on Mr L because the teacher told me later that he would love to have Andre and pulled out all the stops with his recommendation to the principal.
However, by the last week of December, Andre's chances of appeal began to fade when Mr L revealed that there were few vacancies in the school this year and the principal had told him the answer was likely to be no. We were mentally preparing ourselves to settle Andre in School A when Mr L updated me on Friday, 28 December that he made one last attempt to convince the principal of Andre's worth. He even told her, "you don't know what you're missing out on" which touched me - he had so much faith in a boy he barely knew.
Finally, on the morning of 31 December, I received a call from School B's general office saying that Andre's appeal was successful. He was the only badminton student the school took in via appeals this year. It was the best New Year's gift we could have asked for. When I sms-ed Mr L to tell him the good news, he was delighted and said he would try his best to help Andre thrive in the school, not just in badminton but academically as well.
As usual, God's timing was impeccable. True, He kept us in suspense right to the end but the message was clear - He will provide. In fact, God didn't just provide a school for Andre, He gave him one which looks to suit him well. It seems to have a nurturing culture, and it will give Andre
the discipline and joy of the sport he loves, with a team
that he feels very comfortable with. On top of all that, He sent a mentor
who believes in Andre and is prepared to watch over him.
Such provision, way beyond our expectations. I write this as a reminder to myself as well, as I tend to get discouraged too often and too easily. I remember how Lesley-Anne's secondary school choice was also God-led and how it has been a blessing to her. When God gives, He gives generously. I can't wait to see what's in store!