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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Junior Gets Organized

Well, I just spent the last three hours helping Junior get his Golder College Prep stuff organized. He had all his papers for all his classes stuffed into one binder. He gets a million years' worth of homework every night--that was the point, but now I have to help him. Thank God one of the older Brady girls came by and helped him with math. She's good at math; I wasn't.

They do have a system of office hours--teachers stay an hour after school ends (that's 4 to 5 p.m.) and make themselves available to help. Of course it is different teachers every day, but I looked through the list and starred all the ones I thought could help Junior. They do physics first at Golder, too, which may get a little rough for him as it goes on.

So far he likes it, he says. He's made six or seven friends already. He's not worried about getting in fights anymore. He says there are a couple of guys you can tell are gangbangers but they keep it on the downlow. He already got his first detention, which he has to serve on Friday. Older Brady Girl was giving him advice about the buses so he can make it to school on time--he was late the first day and then was late to class, which together added up to four demerits, one detention.

I read through all the syllabi and as many papers as I could find. One teacher gave her phone number and email on the syllabus, so I'll be contacting her. My worst fear is that they won't modify their curriculum enough for him to keep up and then throw him out for bad grades. I asked his mom if she had copies of his IEP and she said no but she would check with Chavez and Golder about getting them. I've never seen his IEP either and I'd just like to know what it says. His teachers seem pretty willing to help out but I know how swamped high school teachers get. His detention slip had a note from a teacher about the second tardy and the person used the wrong first name for him. That doesn't surprise me at the beginning of the year but I want to make sure Junior gets known as a nice kid who needs extra help before he gets frustrated or anything bad happens.

It took us three hours to do his homework, get notebooks and folders at Walgreen's and organize his stuff. He's going to have to go it alone again next week, but he gets that he needs to go to the office hours after school.

I went to his house to work on the paper organizing, and his parents invited me to join them all for dinner. We had quesadillas with chicken and some spicy beef dish. Then Junior came back to my house with me so I could get him some construction paper for a project he has to do.

On our way across the street, Yup-yup came by, kind of loud and frantic. "I'm hungry," he said. "I just need four dollars."

"I don't have it," I said, which was true. Junior's mom had given him $20 for school supplies but what we got cost $29. I paid for $20 and Junior picked up the $9. Between school expenses and child care for the younger two boys, this Golder College Prep venture is costing Junior's family an arm and a leg.

"But I can give you something to eat," I continued. "Just give me five minutes to take care of this guy," I said, pointing at Junior. Yup-yup went away.

"Man, I feel sorry for him," said Junior. "I bet he never even went to high school."

"You're right," I said. "I bet he never set foot in one."

On his way out, Junior thanked me again, profusely. He's a really good kid. He's thinking about commercial art as a career possibility. I've never really seen him draw, though, so I don't know if he's good or if he's just picking up the bug from Picasso. I'll have to see if we can hook Junior up with Marwen next summer.

Oh, so after Junior left, I scouted around and found a nice peach for Yup-yup. I went outside with it and he came to the gate. "I have something for you," he said. It was a painting of four leopards. I believe he said he liked this because he himself is like a panther. Whatever. I handed over the peach, thanked him for the painting and headed back in the house.

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