Interview and tour at the Wild Card School.

"Mom, this school is great."

It was unseasonably warm today, and we had a very smooth start at the Wild Card School. It has had an Upper School division for 15 years. It otherwise has no history, no celebrity alumni roster. Apart from its impressive list of college schools which accept Wild Card students, I think that I should call it The Clean Slate School.

The security guard was as friendly as a doorman (maybe he IS a doorman?), he directed us to get our nametags and to the coat rack, and we were quickly met by the Admissions Associate. She offered us an executive breakfast (coffee, juice, water, muffin) before we commenced our interview. The walls of the interview waiting/meeting/breakfast room were covered in photography art by the school students. OH MY G-D, I thought. We FORGOT the photography portfolio at home! A gave me a weird look. "Chill out, Mom," said A's look. Of course. I grabbed a cup of coffee. Then A left with his very young, very handsome History teacher young interviewer.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with New York City private school admissions, the "interview" is when your child is ushered away to his/her interview, and then you, the parent(s), are ushered to a separate room. Because you, lucky thing, are interviewed, as well. My interviewer seemed very hip, despite the Oxford button-down and tie. He collects cartoon/anime figures. They were strategically placed around his office.

"We will need writing samples, grades, transcripts, that sort of information, to better assess your son's qualifications," he said. I understood, and told him that grades were not a problem. All of A's teachers and tutors have been instructed to give grades to A's work, for school admissions purposes. "I'll send you our curricula, transcript, and grades and written evaluations right away," I told the interviewer. He seemed pleased. We agreed that A needed work with Chemistry. "All our students integrate Biology, Chemistry and Physics each year," the interviewer explained. And then there were some tricky questions, which included. "Why did you decide to homeschool? Why are you applying now, which is not a normal entry point?" [In New York City, Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th Grade entry are normal entry points]. I think I fielded the questions okay.

Meanwhile, A was given an essay to write. He was given a choice of three famous quotes on which to base his essay. A chose a quote by Gandhi. And he noticed his interviewer had a book by Noam Chomsky on his desk.
"You go to PPSI on weekends?" he asked.
"Yes," answered A.
"You know that Noam Chomsky is at PPSI?"
"Yes, of course," answered A.

A liked his interviewer.

We were reunited in the meeting/breakfast room, and the School Tour commenced. There was a Sikh grading student papers. There were African-American students and other students of color, and diverse faculty. There were hipster kids, nerdy kids, a kid with fire-engine red hair and jeans so tight that Sienna Miller would be jealous. One student looked like our friend Godlis, the photographer. There were smiles. In fact, most of the kids seemed to exude the "happiness factor" in some way or another. I was truly amazed. I saw A's interviewer, in the common room, with the Noam Chomsky book on his desk. I looked at A. "I love this school," is what his facial expression seemed to tell me. Diversity was not just a word in this school's brochure.

Then our school tour guide (a school senior) whisked A off into their darkroom. I talked to the Photography teacher for a few minutes. We talked about ICP for a bit. He mentioned their lack of diversity.

We toured the cafeteria. More student photos were exhibited on the walls. It was apparent that Wild Card takes their Photography program very, very seriously.

All in all, A was happy. And maybe I have "Diversity" stamped on my forehead. I don't know. But the Wild Card School made us feel very, very welcome.

We handed our nametags back to the front desk, got our coats that we would not put on, and as we exited, we enjoyed the view. It was Central Park, and the fall leaves, directly across the street.

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