Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting a baseline...

We are home from another of our whirlwind trips to Mississippi. We love our life in the desert but going home to MSU and Tupelo....well, I think Benjamin said it best when he said, "In Phoenix, we are loved by a few people, but in Mississippi, the WHOLE state loves us!" We were hugged (my love language), watched some football, ate a ton of yummy southern treats and spent time with some of  our most favorite people. It was good trip.

But there was work to be done on this trip. Of course. With the trio starting high school this year, we have all -- with the exception of baby Cate -- begun to ponder college choices. I attended a conference on the topic at our home school convention this summer. I have talked with friends who are further down the road with this then we are. And my kiddos are starting to research schools that offer programs they are interested in.

Mason and I awaiting our order from Little Dooey's!

As in everything we do, however, we know we have to look at accessibility issues in any colleges we consider. Since we are early in the process, we knew we needed a baseline for what we SHOULD expect a college to offer our boys in terms of accessibility. We also knew that Mississippi State has a reputation for excellence in this area. So we thought our beloved alma mater would be the perfect place to begin forming our expectations.

Petting Bella during our tailgate time at MSU Thursday night before the game.

So after the game on Thursday night, we used our time on campus Friday exploring accessibility. After spending time with Dr. Jimmy Abraham, Vice president of Alumni and one of our favorite people on campus, we made our way to Student Support Services.

The associate dean met with us. She was so helpful. I am delighted to say that our alma mater sets the bar high for accessibility. Mason and Benjamin would be allowed to register early for classes in order to assure that they can arrange their schedules so that Mason is not traipsing one corner of campus to the far other corner between each class. A huge concern he had been feeling!

Loving the lack of stairs as we travel campus!

On the drill field in front of Lee Hall!

My favorite piece of information didn't surprise me in the least. Mississippi State has so many students VOLUNTEER to take notes for special needs' students that they have NEVER had to pay a student-note-taker. Now perhaps, you don't understand this. But the boys' physical impairments prevent them from writing. They can type but it is so laborious that they would never be able to type quickly enough to take notes in a lecture. MSU provides a student to accompany them to each class to take notes for them. And did you need to re-read this -- MSU has never had to PAY anyone to provide this service. That is the part of our MSU that we strive to explain -- the beauty of the people. Wow.

I don't want to be catty here. But it is important to note that this is not true everywhere. And while, it underscores a certain is much more important than that. Because THIS is a huge baseline test for the boys. It will be a key to telling them if special needs students are TOLERATED on a campus, or are they WELCOMED there! That's a huge thing to know going in.

It is early to consider school options for her....but she thinks MSU is pretty terrific!

Nothing better.
 So, I am absolutely thankful that we do not need to know TODAY where the triplets will go to college. But we have a great starting point....

I have to share that my sweet wonderful Claire is considering a major that is NOT offered at our alma mater. She was having such a wonderful time on campus Thursday that she looked at her Dad and I at one point and said, "Ok. I'll just be an engineer. I don't want to be an engineer but I desperately want to go to MSU!" Oh, it made us smile from ear to ear!! (We will steer her otherwise of course...but it is a testimony to the love she feels on and for that campus!)

With our dear Jimmy Abraham!! (Our annual photo!)

Wondering if they need an editor...or just maybe a staff writer!! Love my Reflector!

Spending time wrapped in maroon and white, on the campus where we fell in love with our amazing four kiddos, and discovering a welcoming atmosphere for special students is such a blessing that it was hard to leave. Deep sigh.

Go Dawgs.


boomama said...

Love y'all, Carol. Loved this post - it's a perfect example of one of the MANY things that makes MSU so special!