The Beginning of a New Journey

Grandma Kc wrote this on April 8th, 2016 39 Replies

It is the beginning of a big change! Jenna announced it on Facebook last night:

“I’ve got good news. Amara got into Orange County School of the Arts! Starting next (school) year we will be leaving our Santiago Elementary and Santiago School PTA family. That is all.”

I’ve been wanting to share this story with all of you but wanted to wait until we knew how the story would turn out before I told it! Santiago is a wonderful school and we are sure going to miss it but next year Amara will be attending OCSA with a conservatory in “production and design”.

Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), colloquially called “OH-sha”, which is retained from a mispronunciation of the previous acronym for the previous name of the school (respectively “Orange County High School of the Arts” and “OCHSA”), is a 7th — 12th grade public charter school located in downtown Santa Ana, Orange County, California, United States. The school caters to middle and high school students with talents in the performing, visual, literary arts, and culinary arts. The educational program prepares students for higher education institutions or employment in the professional arts industry. Both the academic and arts program have prompted recognition in the US News’ “Best High Schools” program. OCSA recently changed its school name from “Orange County High School of the Arts” (OCHSA) to “Orange County School of the Arts” to reflect the inclusion of middle school students. from Wiki

For those of us who remember the old movie and TV show “Fame”, it is something like that only they also offer culinary, creative writing, digital media and so much more.

Overhead photo of OCSA

Photo from OCSA

Amara has been dreaming of going to OCSA for years now but couldn’t apply until she was ready to start 7th grade. Because OCSA is a charter school, you have to apply to get in. There is no guarantee you will make it and the process isn’t an easy one! Amara has been taking art classes on Saturdays since she was about three. When this school year began, she also started taking a class one night a week with her art teacher on “How to get into OCSA”. She could apply for two conservatories. Now I admit that word confused me but it is kind of like selecting a major. Amara applied for Visual Arts and for Production & Design. Applications had to be submitted online by January 15th and then you wait to see if you get an interview! Amara did not get an interview for VA but was scheduled to interview for P&D on February 6th.

Amara's wolf costume for OCSA

The interview process wasn’t an easy one either. They were given a subject – The Three Little Pigs – and they had to bring a stage mockup, a costume they created and photos of themselves or someone they had made up as a pig! Once the interview was over, we started waiting again. Parents of students would be notified sometime around the first week in April.

Amara's first day of Kindergarten

April 1st rumors started flying that notifications were being sent. Jenna was freaking out every time an email hit her inbox! The waiting was killing all of us! Jenna got the notice on April 7th that Amara had been accepted! Amara is on Spring Break and Justin had taken the day off to take her to Disneyland! I’m pretty sure her and Justin’s screams of excitement could be heard all over the park! But she is not done at Santiago yet. There is still a lot to enjoy over the next few months — like The Father Daughter Dance!

Amara on her first day of 6th grade

It will be exciting to see what next year brings!
Congratulations to Amara and to her Mommy and Daddy, too!

39 thoughts on “The Beginning of a New Journey

  1. Barb

    What exciting news for the whole family. It’s wonderful that Amara already has a special interest and the ability to follow her dreams. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I am convinced that grandchildren grow faster than their parents did! I can’t believe she will be 12 in just 2 weeks.

      Reply
  2. Kimberly

    Oh my, what a lot of pressure on a sixth grader, but how very exciting too. Lands, those poor teachers are likely devastated to be losing Jenna, you and Amara. I know all to well how precious those kind of Mamas and Grandmas are. Congratulations!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It has been a lot of pressure but this was what she wanted — not something her parents pushed her into. They let her make the decision to go for it and she knows the studies are going to be even harder there but it is what she wanted.

      Next week will be tough, especially for Jenna as I know she is going to hear from all those teachers how much she will be missed. You do understand how hard it is for teachers to get parents involved. She has promised the PTA that she will not abandon them but it will be a change. Should be interesting to see what the future holds for all of us.

      Reply
  3. Olga

    That is such exciting news, but we did always know that girl was destined for great things. What a fantastic opportunity. I bet the Santiago school will miss her and her family’s involvement for sure!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Olga! I know Amara will do amazing things and hopefully we have set an example for other families and that more of them will get involved to help take up the slack.

      Reply
  4. Joyce

    I am thrilled for ALL of you! Every one of you had a hand in bringing up this fine young lady and developing her talents as she grew. I am not surprised she has been offered this remarkable opportunity! Certainly Santiago is going to go into “withdrawal” over the loss of your family involvement, but they can be so proud of their own contribution.
    Amara is a super-star NOW – we can only dream about how much brighter she’s going to shine in the years ahead! I trust we’ll be reading about her journey right here!
    Congratulations to ALL of you!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Santiago really has given Amara and amazing education with wonderful teachers, a fantastic librarian and a great administrative staff. We will miss all of them as much as they will miss all of us!

      Reply
  5. April

    I am so happy for Amara! What a wonderful accomplishment at such a young age. I am sure the school will be sorry to see Amara go, not to mention losing her mom and grandma too. I am looking forward to hearing about her exciting new journey!
    Congratulations, Amara!
    Love you

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      They are really going to miss Justin too! Especially the science teachers as he was a huge support and helped so much with the new science night they did at the beginning of the year. We’ve been talking about the possibility of OCSA since the beginning of the year and one of the science teachers told him he had to come back and help regardless of where Amara was going to school! Raising Amara really has been a family affair and a lot of fun.

      Reply
  6. Joan Stommen

    Oh, Kc! my eyes filled with happy tears! This is so very HUGE! I’ve seen all these years on your blog how creative she is….with a creative mom and grandma right by her side! And being familiar with OCSA via my CA rellies…I know what a big deal this is for her and your family!
    Congratulations and big hugs! We will surely hear her name called someday at the Awards SHows! Bravo and Congrats to Grama and Grampy too!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Joan! Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing ever — to attend the Oscar or something?~!

      Reply
  7. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Woot!!! Congratulations to Amara!!! How exciting. And surely well deserved. It sounds like this will be a tremendous opportunity and the perfect road to success for your brilliant, talented, and beautiful girl. How wonderful!!

    I can only imagine how bittersweet the leaving her old school will be. But you all have incredible memories of Amara’s time there… just as the students and school will have of you and Jenna and Amara. You’ve made an indelible mark in so many ways.

    Thank you for sharing the news! Best wishes to you all on this new and exciting journey!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Lisa – from all of us! I have to admit to having shed a few tears. I am going to miss being the Cat in the Hat and next month I will be the Book Fair-ie for the last time. We will do lots of last times… but then we will get on to lots of first times! It will be different but it will be good because Amara will be very happy on her new adventure.

      Reply
  8. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    I’m at a loss for words, and you know that just never happens. So, let’s start with congratulations to that wonderful young lady and her family support system. This is truly an honor, and it was earned through hard work and her natural talent. I hope you will follow up with a post explaining what her next year’s program might look like as far as classes. It is so exciting but bittersweet I know. If OSCA did a background check at the school and saw all the volunteer hours you ladies put in, that had to definitely be a + for Amara. I can’t wait, and I know I’m not alone, to hear all about the next chapters in Amara’s journey. 🙂 Her NH fan club is doing the wave.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Amara will appreciate all your good wishes. There will be follow up posts on the entire process. I know that she has already made an appointment to take a math placement test next week and that she has been busy picking out her electives. In most cases she gets 3 choices on classes but I will fill you in more as I know more.

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Deb! Jenna and Justin have done a great job but Grampy and I like to think we played a little part, too! She is lucky to also have her other grandparents close by to help her grow, too!

      Reply
  9. Launna

    Woo hoo KC… you know how happy I am for Amara… I can’t believe how grown up she is since I started following your blog. She’s grown into such a wonderful girl, I’m sure she’ll do an amazing job at the new school ???

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Launna. I am so glad I started this blog so that I can look back on all the fun we have had. It really is amazing how much she has grown since you and I “met” online and the next few years will fly by and she will really grow up. Glad you’re here.

      Reply
  10. Bob

    Kudos to KC and Jenna. The journey will be Amara’s (and I’m sure it will be a brilliant one) but the launch pad has been provided by you two and the rest of Amara’s family.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Bob! I just can’t wait to see what amazing things this girl will do next! I’m really glad we are only one mile away and can enjoy every minute of it.

      Reply
  11. Pamela Shank

    Oh my gosh!!!! What exciting news! I know you all have mixed emotions because you love the school she attends now and the school loves you! What an honor for her and the process you describe to get in does not sound easy in ANY way. I just keep thinking how awesome this is. I love that there are schools like this available. We do not have anything like this. Wishing you all the best in all ways. I really cannot imagine how excited she is.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Today is there first day back to school from spring break and I am sure it will be all anyone is talking about — who made it in and who didn’t. Amara has mixed feelings, too as she will be leaving behind some friends that she has been in school with since pre-school and kindergarten. Technology will make that part easier and Santiago only goes through 8th grade so it would have happened eventually anyway. It will sure make the rest of this school year interesting!

      Reply
  12. Sandy

    Uncle Mark and I are so happy for all of you! This is so exciting and such a big accomplishment for not only Amara, but for the Santiago School teachers and her family who have helped prepare her for this moment!! We can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring!!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It does take a village and she has been so lucky to have such great teachers. I think knowing Aunt Sandy and Uncle Mark were out there cheering for her helped, too! xoxo

      Reply
  13. Rhonda Gales

    Congratulations everyone and especially Amara. It sounds so exciting, and I know she’s thrilled. I hope that she will find it to be everything she dreamed of. Great example of what can happen when you work hard. Oh, I used to watch Fame with my daughter.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Jenna and I used to watch Fame, too! It was one of our favorite shows and I never dreamed back then that I would be a Grandma and Jenna would have an amazing daughter headed off to just such a school!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Lux! We are all very excited and very nervous at the same time. It is never easy to step out of your comfort zone!

      Reply

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