Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Frozen stiff competition

Yesterday morning Kevin, Joyce & I drove to CMU for Joyce to participate in the Centralis Scholarship competition. They had events planned for parents, as well as the actual competition for the students. It turned out to be a day of unexpected experiences, mostly good stuff.

The day started with registration and refreshments. The coffee was excellent. Everything was very nicely done.

First on the agenda was a presentation about scholarships and financial aid options, so we were all led upstairs to an auditorium. The speaker did a good job, and it was interesting.

Afterwards, we were escorted over to another building, located right next door, to another, larger auditorium for more speakers. Again, very nice.

All the students were then escorted back to the original auditorium for the test. The Centralis competition gives the students one hour to complete an essay about a topic provided to them by the university staff administering the competition. Joyce thought there were 2 topics provided, and she was pleased with the one she received. It had to do with U.S. security measures since 9/11 and consitutional rights.

While the students were away, the parents remained in the large auditorium, where there was a panel discussion held. Everyone was given the opportunity to submit questions. Again, very interesting, and very well done.

When the students were returned back to the parents in the auditorium, Joyce looked just fine, very relaxed. The first thing she said was, "it was pretty easy." She finished about 4 pages, had time to proof it, then had a few minutes to wait. She said she was about in the middle as far as who was done when... some people near her finished much earlier, while others were still writing when time was called. Better to finish and wrap up with your conclusion paragraph, I think, than to have to just stop writing.

I was thrilled that Joyce felt so good about her effort. The thing is, she has always been good at writing (composition). But the setting of the Centralis is different with the time limit and the location, and the outcome... makes for feelings of uneasiness. Joyce seemed a little stressed out about it through the morning before the essay, her worrying manifesting itself as crankiness. Kev and I tried to assure her that it was not a big deal, but well worth the try at the offered scholarships. Should she not get a scholarship out of this, we won't be disappointed. It was a good experience.

The University even provided a free lunch. As the old saying goes, however, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch...

We were again escorted from the auditorium to the location of the lunch. I thought the cafeteria was in a nearby building, but boy, was I wrong! After walking about 10 minutes in the extremely cold and windy outdoors, Joyce turned and looked at me and said, "Mom, I can't feel my face." It was so very windy, with strong gusts as we walked by various buildings, and the temperature was about 20 degrees. It took about 20 minutes of walking to get to the cafeteria. Criminy. We arrived frozen.

Once there, it was very nice. They had reserved a large room at the back for the Centralis folks, and it was beautiful. Not like a cafeteria at all, more like a very nice restaurant setting. There was a fireplace at each end, both burning cheerfully. The selection of food available was amazing, and what we chose for lunch was very good. Again, really good coffee. We took our time, and it was very pleasant.

Joyce and I waited a while after Kev left to get the car, and he picked us up... we had to walk about 1 minute in the cold. Much nicer! Then we hit the CMU book store. Centralis participants all received a coupon for 20% off everything we purchased. We bought some hoodies, and Joyce bought a couple of things for her brother for Christmas. Then I had Kev & Joyce go wait for me in the car while I chose some Christmas gifts for Joyce. My 20% off coupon saved me $76.08. Yeah, I spent way too much. Guess I got a bit excited about Joycie attending CMU next year... I'm just so darn proud of her.

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