(continuation of "When Repeating A Grade Is A Good Thing")
The newly built school Paul was attending was Northeast Middle School in the Baltimore City Public School system. Sometime in the late winter months, an announcement came over the school's P.A. system advising any student who wished to go to Loyola High School to please come to the office. Paul was the only one who went to the office. He was given a notice advising that a group of black lawyers, former alumni of Loyola, had formed a group called the Advocate Gladiators. This group gave a scholarship each year to a child from the inner city who wanted to go to Loyola. Paul, of course, applied. He and Larry had to appear before the group of lawyers and a few faculty members from Loyola, as well as the other students who were competing for the scholarship. I was so sure this was God's answer to our prayers because we had no other way for Paul to go to this school.
In late June, we received a letter from the Advocate Gladiators advising us that Paul was not chosen for the scholarship. What a disappointment! That evening, we were led to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. It truly was a sacrifice since our feelings were so full of sadness, loss, and disappointment. Over the next few weeks, we continued to pray, even though we didn't feel it, "Thank You; we trust that You know what is best and will put Paul in the school You want him in."
We now had to look for another school. We found that Baltimore City College (actually, a high school) was being refurbished and their college preparatory track was starting again. This school was noted in the 40s and 50s for the fantastic writers it produced, and was again trying for those days of glory. Paul said that this was his second choice, so we enrolled him there in the beginning of August. School was starting the first week of September.
One day in the middle of August, I was cleaning the kitchen floor and thinking of what I needed for the children to start school when the phone rang. I answered in a preoccupied voice. The caller announced that he was the head of admissions at Loyola High School, and both he and the Headmaster had been present at the Advocate Gladiators interviews. They were impressed with Paul's interview and wanted him as a student at Loyola. Since that time, they had been working on a plan to get scholarship money for Paul. Part of that money would come from a work scholarship which would entail Paul staying after school several days a week to work around the school doing various jobs. However, if he would still like to go to Loyola, the scholarship, including the work scholarship, would be for four years. I was speechless. God was faithful. He did for Paul what we could not do. He heard and answered our prayers and supplied the tuition.
Paul started at Loyola in September (his name was called for roll at City College also!) and graduated in 1983. When we looked back, we saw God's ways were not our ways. It was because of Paul's repeating the eighth grade that he was interviewed for the one scholarship he did not receive. Yet, God worked through that experience to give Paul the desire of his heart.