Tuesday, March 5, 2013

College Bound

We all want the best for our children. Early on, we start molding them hoping they will achieve all of their wildest dreams (and maybe some of our own as well).

My husband is an attorney and I am a marketing manager for a $1.5 billion business unit of a Fortune 100 company. We like to think that we’re successful and are preparing our children for a successful future – whatever that may look like for them.

Justin Dickerson, Lawrence University, 2012 UCHS Grad

When we tell people we live in U. City the inevitable next question is,  “So where do your kids go to school?”  As our new acquaintances attempt to mask their surprise at our response, we tend to get defensive and launch into a stump speech on why U. City schools.  But in my head I’m thinking, “Do you really take us for parents that would risk our children’s education – their future?”

Elliot Wilson, Harvard, 2011 UCHS Grad
People point to MAP data to illustrate the poor achievement rates at U. City. The truth is, you can’t look at raw data and get the real picture.  When the data is viewed by the make-up of the student population, U. City students are achieving on par with their counterparts in the Clayton and Ladue school districts.  In fact, UCHS offers a wealth of Advanced Placment (AP) classes and juniors and seniors are able to take college credit courses at UMSL, Washington University, and the junior college system.

But achievement isn’t the only decision factor for some families. It’s not uncommon to hear, “I don’t want my child to be a minority” or, “I want my child to be in an environment where all children are striving for college.”

Sydney Pritchard (left), Columbia College, 2011 UCHS Grad

These considerations are personal and unique to each family and the individual child. In our family, we believe that U. City schools are not only providing our children with the education they deserve, but they are also gaining valuable and enriching experiences that will serve them well in the real world – a world that is diverse in many, many ways. After all, it takes more than college degrees to make the world turn. Our household may have college graduates, but we hire plumbers, HVAC technicians, landscapers and many other professions to keep our little corner of the world running. Some of them may have degrees, certificates, or be self-educated. Regardless, they are just as successful in this world as you and me.

Luke Babich, Stanford, 2012 UCHS Grad

Experience with diversity happens to serve UCHS grads well. Talk to a U. City grad and they will tell you they are able to get along with just about anyone – something their peers from more homogenous environments struggle with.  As the University of Arkansas likes to say, “Diversity is a strength to be pursued, not a requirement to be met."

Matt Robinson, SIU-Carbondale, 2012 UCHS Grad

UCHS grads attend universities all over the country - schools like Stanford, Harvard, Rice and Northwestern. Already this year U. City seniors are interviewing with the likes of Princeton, Yale, and John Hopkins. These are big name, Ivy League schools; but grads are also going to schools like SLU, Mizzou, Indiana, So Cal, Wash U and Vanderbilt that are equally impressive. What really matters isn’t the name, it’s whether the school is a good match for the student’s long-term goals.

So when someone tells me they’re paying $15K or more for their child’s annual tuition I just smile and am thankful to know my children are receiving good educations while I am saving that money to pay for college tuitions when the time arrives.

Rebecca Eissenberg, Colorado State, Wash U Law School, 2007 UCHS Grad
Written by Cindy Thierry


  1. From our former exchange student, Aude Sancereau, after reading the post. "I am so proud of being a U.City High School Alumni! Even if I only studied one year there, it was a life time experience! I was happy to finally get to live the diversity, something you can only dream of in France! So thank you U.City High!"

  2. I'm so PROUD to be a UC Graduate! It was one of the best times in my life, I learned so much from my classes, teachers and classmates… along with learning how to live and thrive in a multi-cultural society!!!

  3. Great article and so true. I know my two sons had a far richer experience and a more robust preparation for college at UCHS than I ever did in high school. Their performance on the standardized tests such as the SAT,ACT and the nine AP exams is a testament to the quality of the education which they received at UCHS. When my colleagues would ask me which school my children attended, I would reply, "Why the best school in St. Louis -and here I would pause, and I could see they were expecting me to say John Burroughs or the like - and then I would add, in all sincerity, "U City High, of course."
    Alex Babich, parent, UCHS grads Luke (2012) and Stefan (2009)