We discussed some differences between public and private education, and the challenges of trying to cross this boundary when one is surrounded by peers from different backgrounds, and trying to find a home among them. A set of twins who had to cross the judgmental line of cultural wealth interfering in educations and relationships. They’ve had the same experiences until the transition to colleges where they finally branched away.
We will be discussing the transitions and coping methods it takes to be subjected into a culture of education that is focused upon religion and riches. Two topics that this family has always struggled with.
My brothers Asa and Tucker are identical and fraternal twins. They are now 19 years old and they are freshmen in college, the first school they’ve ever been apart from. Tucker attends Georgetown University for a biochemistry major. Asa currently attends Virginia Commonwealth University for computer engineering. They went through elementary and middle school in every class together, then to a private high school in Philadelphia. They were given full scholarships to Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School. Here they were set into a very religious brotherhood community, boundaries more focused on the practice of religion rather than the focus on financial complications that needed to be crossed for success.
When I asked my siblings about their experience with the initial change into a private school, they explained their feelings about how it may have been more work than they had been used to, but this community was so closely knit that they hardly noticed it. The educational boundary that seems to frequently interfere with financial issues was also apart of my own childhood.
At the same year that my siblings had to move into a private school, I had done the same. I attended William Penn Charter School for my sixth grade year. This was an extremely difficult change to bear. I had only recently lost my mother to cancer and starting at a new school made life much more difficult. The work was incredibly more challenging than I had ever had to experience before. I cried every night, but still stayed awake doing homework until two a.m. I had transferred from a public school just two days into the school year. The principal of my middle school had to persuade another girl to take me around for a few days since we had all the same classes. This girl was my opposite.
I knew from a glance at the school that I wouldn’t fit in. My family has always had to be really careful with money. None of the other students I saw in the grade could possibly be on a scholarship like I was. This school didn’t first focus on intelligence. They focused on a bank account. Not one that I could try to compare with.
Lucky for my siblings, they’ve always been smarter than the rest of us. Saint Joseph’s has a very specific dress code of a suit and tie. Every young boy there must have their hair cut above the shoulders, shaved facial hair. Making them each look the same. With no room for judgement on appearance.
I asked the question of whether Asa or Tucker had ever hoped they were more rich just to fit in with students at the school, with a modest answer, they each said that it hadn’t crossed their minds. They have the intelligence of the richest man in the world, so this didn’t change their experience in high school.
After getting over the basics about their experiences with transitioning into private high school, I changed the questions for college. Tucker, going to school at Georgetown, a very prestigious Ivy league school, spoke about the financial and educational ties. Georgetown is an extremely expensive school to go to. He has been blessed with a great amount of scholarship, grant, and financial aid money. Asa has also. Tucker’s current cost for each semester is a mere $700. Georgetown is very much still focused on the financial issues of their students. Regardless of the amount of money they make as an institution, most of their profit is given to financial aid to help under privileged, extremely intelligent students, get the greater education they deserve.
The educational and economical boundary that has been crossed by these boys has changed the type of man they’ve begun growing up to be. They know what it is to lose their mother, and adapt to a new world where they believe they will be invisible and forgotten no matter the brains. These boys have been through more than many adults have, and they still have been able to make their family proud, and keep their faith. We have all known the burdens of keeping secrets to fit in, some are blurted out because the truth is too painfully obvious, some are dug deep, to hide from cruelty. This judgement could just be all in our heads though.