“It’s that time of year again.” chortles Serei in a maniacal tone, “Seniors are frantically applying to colleges, writing essays and fretting over which colleges they should consider. This is probably the second, really important decision they will ever make.” Although it’s clear that I’m being setup by this strikingly attractive, diabolical lady, I obligingly say, “OK I’ll take your bait! What was the first? With her deviously impish smile she mocks, “Selecting Accelerated Learning Laboratory of course, you silly guy. But really, a student’s entire future is balanced on this one point in time. Students at this age are at a funny point in life, they are neither adult nor child. Most are only slightly aware of the long-term impact of their pending decisions. Most of their parents either don’t know how to help, or don’t have time. Most high schools don’t have the resources or expertise to give students direction.”
She abruptly stops and looks at me as if she were impatiently waiting for her computer to power up. I dutifully respond, “Ok, you got me again, Whats-to-do?” “Well, guy” Serei smirks, “I can’t solve all the world’s problems but at Accelerated, first, we give students a world-class education, and second, we don’t abandon them when they are ready to move on to college.” Without giving me an opportunity to ask my scripted how and why question, she rambles on, “We are not finished with them even when they move on to college. In fact we just got back from a week long retreat, in the White Mountains, where graduating seniors received help, with their college applications, from ALL graduates who were on winter break from college.”
Now was my chance to ask my investigative-reporter incisive question, “That’s outrageous! You mean you took these tender children, and college students who had not seen their parents for months, to a cabin, for a reunion party? And! You did it over Christmas? You made them miss Christmas with their families? Shame!” Just as I started to enjoy my brilliant ‘gotcha question’ Serei’s words smoothly rolled from her ample lips, “Yes, I did sacrifice my Christmas so students who have their futures on the line could have the best chance possible. Yes, my child, who is in her first year at Princeton, was one of the student guides who sacrificed their personal interests to help others. And My other daughter, who attends MIT, would have been working over Christmas, if she weren’t in Cambridge, England doing research. I didn’t take all of the graduating seniors, just those who petitioned to be included in ALL’s annual college retreat. The others received professional assistance in Tucson with our very savvy faculty.”
Serei Kay is a student advisor at Accelerated Elementary and Secondary Schools and Accelerated Learning Laboratory, located in northwest Tucson, Arizona.