Now that Courtney has returned from JMU for the summer, my memories go back to last summer. The Renaissance School! Below is a short story I was asked to write for the Renaissance School newsletter about Courtney and my journey from Michigan discovering this exceptional school. I thought it might give some perspective on how one decision can impact your journey!
One of the definitions of Renaissance is “a renewal of life”. This would certainly apply to Courtney’s journey! She began her passion for dance at the age of 3. From the beginning she was a quick learn. Courtney gained great knowledge and experience at her local dance school participating in tap, jazz and ballet. She and her older sister, participating in dance as well would frequently embrace me in the evening after classes thanking me for beginning their journey into the world of dance. As their Mother, there is no joy that fills my soul more than watching them perform! Academically Courtney succeeded as well attending a private Catholic high school in Michigan. Along with her studies, she was very involved in the arts….drama, music and art classes. With Courtney’s self confidence guiding her…life was full!
This past year her journey began to change. There were no more embraces in the evenings filled with gratitude instead there were bouts of frustration and anger after attending her beloved classes. Something was different and knowing her absolute love for dance as her Mother it was time to question. I discovered this wonderful dance academy had begun to show signs of deterioration. It wasn’t the destination of happiness and love for her any longer. With few options in alternative schools and the current state of Michigan’s financial economy there was one option, yet I had avoided offering.
I have been venturing to the Charlottesville area for the past 4 years building a relationship with the gentleman who resides here. I eventually decided that upon the time Courtney leaves for college I would relocate here. Never imagining that for a moment I would ever alter the lives of my girls by moving them for my desires. A dance instructor Courtney became close with knew our challenge and asked “have you ever asked Courtney if she’d be willing to relocate?” I hadn’t but thought maybe now is the time? I asked. Her response was “tell me more”. Days and nights of research and long discussions were followed by her assistance making the most adult decision I’ve been privy to witness a 16 year old make…”let’s do it!” she said.
We decided that Albemarle High School was a good fit primarily for there incredible music program. We rushed to relocate for her in time to attend the first day of school. Albemarle was a much larger school than she was use to and her nights were filled with doubt. Fearful myself I encouraged her that things would improve and I began my search for the perfect dance schools. After attending a Chicago dance convention this past summer she wanted to add a modern class to her repertoire. I was told that Miki was THE teacher to talk to. That phone conversation brought awakening! After describing Courtney to Miki she asked me if I was familiar with The Renaissance School.
We attended the Open House and immediately Courtney was hooked. We talked about the things she would miss. Football games, school dances, proms…but she felt what she would gain far outweighed what she would be sacrificing. With her exceptional transcripts she was accepted. Since that day her life here has dramatically changed. Not only is she receiving the challenges she desires for academic honors, she is surrounded by her lifeline…the arts! It is as if The Renaissance School was created just for her. I firmly believe that had we not found this school our relocation would have been reversed. Miki and the staff at Renaissance School have my heartfelt and deepest thanks for opening the world to the twin of my life’s purpose…Courtney. It is as if life has been breathed back into her. When asked if she was given the opportunity to return to her life in Michigan…the school, her friends even the closeness of her family her response is “no, I love this school Mom”. She is making great friends and gains experiences beyond that which I could offer her in Michigan.
The evenings are again filled with embraces of gratitude and love. Not just for her journey with dance but have now been augmented with true thanks for discovering Renaissance School!
To learn more about the Renaissance School visit their website!