December 14th, 2023 | Students & Alumni
Arete Sends Student to His Dream School
When our kids are young, we worry about feeding them the right foods, changing diapers, tummy time, sleep schedules and sickness. A few years later, concerns shift to their development: are they on track in speech and reading? Are they getting enough social interaction? What about emotional development? And, of course, their health and physical safety.
It’s natural for mothers and fathers to worry; as children grow, our worries never disappear entirely. We discover new things to worry about: Are they running with the right friends? Are they happy and thriving as their best selves? Are they in the right school?
For Neisha, the mother of Josiah, the school question was what made her most uneasy this past summer. But what if your child has that answer already figured out for himself?
Josiah has been on an accelerated learning track from the start. He tested as gifted in pre-K and has excelled in every class at every grade level. So, it was no surprise when considering his transition to high school; he knew exactly where he wanted to go.
“Josiah chose De La Salle High School,” Neisha says. “It was all his choice.” Josiah chose, but it would take Arete Scholars to help make the private school option a reality.
In truth, Josiah had interviewed De La Salle as much, if not more, than the school’s admissions team had interviewed him. The school's college model curriculum stood out the most, anchored by a 90-minute class schedule each semester. He was concerned that more than four classes in a semester, along with increased assignments and testing, could become overwhelming. Josiah understood the workload balance he needed and saw that De La Salle could provide the right environment—both the culture and educational programs—to help his academic formation and personal growth.
“Their four-class model is one of the main reasons he chose De La Salle,” Neisha says. “He’s very serious about grades and doing his best in school, and he needed that to feel comfortable transitioning to high school.”
Trusting Josiah’s choice didn’t come easy for Neisha, at least not at first.
“I initially wanted him to attend a local school, one that I knew had a good reputation,” she says. “But it’s good that I let him choose which high school he would attend. When he interviewed all the schools, it allowed him to see that there was more out there for him.”
“I didn’t know much about De La Salle,” Neisha adds. “As I researched it myself and read parent reviews, I felt very comfortable with Josiah’s choice.”
Parenting is a process. It’s finding the balance between making the wisest choices for your child and giving them the independence to make big decisions for themselves. But again, Josiah is an exceptional young man who continually showed his mom that he possessed the thoughtfulness and maturity necessary to take ownership of his educational journey and learning needs.
“That’s why I backed his choice,” Neisha says. “I said, ‘This is your choice,’ and supported him.”
Deciding which high school Josiah would attend was no longer a concern for Neisha, but affording De La Salle’s private school tuition and allowing Josiah to move forward with his choice of schools became her new worry. “My big concern was coming from public school and affording the cost of a private school,” Neisha says.
“You always want the best for your kids and for them to have the best opportunities,” she adds. “But sometimes things get tough, and you go through ups and downs financially, especially now.”
During Josiah’s initial admissions interview, someone mentioned there were scholarships to apply for. Arete Scholars was one of those options, and Neisha was more than happy to apply. After what felt like a long and anxious wait, the response from Arete finally came, and to everyone's excitement and relief, the first word read: “Congratulations!” Josiah had officially been awarded a scholarship for the 2023-24 school year, offering him the opportunity to attend the school he wanted.
“The scholarship gave him the choice to do what he wanted, as opposed to what he felt he had to do or what his mom and dad wanted him to do,” she adds. “I don’t feel he would have been as happy as he is attending any other school because it would not have been his choice.”
“I always ask Josiah if he’s still happy going to De La Salle,” Neisha says. “And he says yes, he’s very happy.”
In only his first semester at De La Salle, Josiah’s choice is paying off in significant ways. According to his mom, he likes the school uniforms' clean-cut look, especially the bowties. He’s enjoying his classmates and the smaller class sizes, so he gets a lot of one-on-one attention from teachers.
“I noticed in his first couple of weeks, he felt comfortable interacting with his teachers,” Neisha says. “They are very approachable when he has questions, and he really appreciates that.”
She adds, with a laugh, “He also just likes being able to say that he goes to De La Salle!”
Neisha is incredibly proud of Josiah—she appreciates his maturity and eagerness to take ownership of his educational path. She’s especially grateful that he felt empowered to make such a big choice, knowing it could significantly impact his life down the road.
She also understands that there’s only so much you can control as a parent. You can’t make every decision for your child. You can’t always be there to guide and protect them. But you can do your best to give them a good foundation that cultivates moral character and inspires courage, virtue and accountability.
“Every day, I pray that my kids have not the life I want for them, but the life that God wants for them,” Neisha says. “I’m grateful that Josiah attends a school that reflects my faith and supports my values. You worry as your kids get older because of how things are in the world, and I pray that my son has leadership and guidance to prepare. I feel like he’s getting both of those at De La Salle, and that’s thanks to the scholarship from Arete.”
There’s a lot to be happy about right now, according to Neisha. She sees Josiah thriving, enjoying life and all it has to offer. She acknowledges that much of that joy is due to the Arete scholarship that has allowed him to attend the school he chose for himself.
“For Arete to provide support and financial assistance when a family is struggling, it’s really something to be grateful for,” Neisha says. “I want to thank Arete because they are changing kids’ lives and doing it in a way that will be positive for their community.”
“And for Arete’s supporters to offer this help is life-changing,” she adds. “It changes a kid’s path, and that is something to be proud of.”