Friday, Oct. 15, 2004
By Rick Ryckeley
A pleasing coolness has returned to the evening air. Red, brown and yellow leaves decorate our lawns once again, and soon hungry ghosts and goblins will visit us on our doorsteps.
The seasons are finally changing. Gone are the humid, ninety degree days of summer, gone are the impossibly high cooling bills, gone are the happy faces of little children with ice cold juice from the Fourth of July watermelon running down their chins, and gone off in the mail are all the applications your senior has sent to the colleges he would like to attend.
Senioritis has infected our humble abode, and one little redheaded kid around our house is bouncing off the walls. Okay, so hes not so little anymore, but hes really excited that next fall he will be attending a major university. I, too, was bouncing off the walls when he informed The Wife and me he didnt want to stay instate and take advantage of the HOPE scholarship; rather, he wanted to go out of state to Auburn. I, being the wonderful Dad that I am, said years ago if he made a high enough score on the SAT and had a high enough GPA, and the Auburn admissions office would let him in, then he could go. Okay, so who knew all that was gonna happen?
His job was to get the grades; our job is to pay four years of out-of-state tuition, but first we have to pay for his senior year.
After talking to the counselors over at his school last week, I came up with a great idea on how to pay for his college. The great idea to pay for $24,700 per year of out-of-state tuition, room and board is at the end of this article. Now you senior parents and junior parents out there dont skip to the end; theres a bunch of important info betwixt here and there you need to know.
The first check written for his senior year was way before the school reconvened for the fall: the dreaded senior pictures. The sitting fee was only $100, to pick up the proofs was another $100, and the final pictures were only $400. But, hold on to your wallet parents, Im just getting started. Next up: senior dues, only $75. Dont ask me what theyre for, I still dont know, but I wrote the check anyway. Being the father of a teenager, I learned years ago its just easier not to ask questions, just write the check. Its also a whole lot fewer headaches, too.
The wonderful yearbook came up next, a half-page ad for only $175. You remember your high school yearbook, dont you? Bet you had it out just last week thumbing through it and remembering the fond days you spent in the hallowed halls of your high school, the cheerleader that laughed at you when you asked her out and the bully that gave you a swirly in the bathroom, then beat you up on a regular basis. Right; I cant tell you where mine is either. But I wrote the check anyway, my being the wonderful dad that I am, the wonderful broke dad, that is.
But wait, its only October, and we have a long way to go before The Boys graduation. Theres still a lot left to pay; graduation announcements are only $100, senior prom will be upwards of $500, and lets not even talk about spring break or the senior trip. And I thought college was going to be expensive.
The Boy got his letter the other day stating he got into Auburn, and Im very proud of him. Now before anyone asks, the reason why he decided to go to Auburn had nothing to do with the fact his granddad went there, or his grandmother went there, or his aunt went there, or his two uncles went there, or even that yours truly went there. Nope, his reasoning for wanting to attend Auburn was quite simple: The girls are prettier over there, Dad. Yep, hes my boy. Same reason I went too.
I told him dormitory life would be very different from life at our house; he would be on a meal plan, have to clean his own room, live with a roommate and even do his own laundry. When he heard that last one the small wrinkles on his forehead pinched together as he arched a fuzzy red eyebrow. Dad, Auburns just an hour and a half drive away. I can bring all my dirty laundry back home when I visit on the weekends.
I just smiled and replied, Yeah, son. I think thats a really good idea; just let me know when youre coming home. Ill make sure were here.
The great idea we came up with to pay for college? Simply, just start begging everyone we meet for a small donation. I figure all we need is 24,700 people to give us a dollar, and well have the first year paid for. Please send all donations to the e-mail address below. Okay, the bottom line is that to be able to pay for four years of college these days, theres just no hope without HOPE.
[Rick Ryckeley is employed by the Fayette County Department of Fire and Emergency Services. He can be reached at email@example.com.]
Copyright 2004-Fayette Publishing, Inc.