We didn’t even want Akeyla to go to that stupid charter school everyone in Asheville applies to, we told ourselves.
“I don’t know if I even want to send Akeyla to that school,” said Matt.
“It’s so far. I don’t think I want to do that much driving,” said I.
As a back-up, I toured the Asheville elementary schools. You don’t automatically get into your first choice for those either – you rank order them and hope for the best. The two days of open houses were brutal.
“Did you see our free range chickens?” said tour guide at School No. 1. “Yes,” I replied, “I almost took one out in your parking lot.”
“Our school has a ‘chess culture,’” said the principal at School No. 4. “What the fuck is a ‘chess culture?’” I didn’t say.
By the end, I couldn’t remember which school had the found object sculpture garden and which featured the space exploration mural in the lobby.
Since we live one millimeter over city limits, we needed a release from our neighborhood school – which boasts a not-compelling 50% at grade level for reading – to apply for the city schools.
“The principal’s not signing those forms until May,” the secretary informed me.
“But the application is due tomorrow,” I said.
“Yep,” she replied.
I called Matt, near tears. “We’ll just put her in private school. We’ll forgo little luxuries. Like food. And shelter.”
Lottery day arrived. All the way to the charter school, I saw good signs, like “I didn’t make any wrong turns this time and end up at the mall.”
There were 206 applications for 13 kindergarten spots. The principal made a speech. “Blah blah thank you for coming, expeditionary learning, etc.” The city councilman who had the honors of pulling numbers out of a leftover Teleflora basket gave a speech. “Blah blah core part of our community, etc.”
Eight ladies stood behind a table, stickies with names corresponding to our kids’ lottery ball numbers at the ready. I tried counting along but quickly lost track.
The admissions director announced: “And that’s the 13th spot for kindergarten.”
I gasped. Wait, what? She’s, like, in? NOBODY gets into this school. I started to cry. Parents turned around and smile-glared at me. They performed the slow, uninvested clap of the Academy Award loser after “The winner is…NOT YOU!” is announced. Then they trickled out, their children far down the waiting list.
In the end, it was just me, the staff, and the city councilman. Like at the end of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” when it’s just Charlie and Willie Wonka. I hugged the councilman. “I’m voting for YOU!” I cried. The staff huddled around me, initiating me into their rarefied ranks.
I texted Matt: “OH MY FUCKING GOD SHE GOT IN.”
“I really wanted her to go there.” said Matt.
“The drive isn’t that bad,” I responded.
The yeah write weekly writing challenge is two freaking years old and we’ve got PRIZES, people. Link up already.