I told no one that I had applied to Prescott, let alone for the full scholarship there. I would have just been mocked. It was the best school in England, certainly much better than any of the schools here in Connecticut. I had dreamed about going there for ages, and almost gave up that dream when I entered my freshman year at the local public school. How great would that sound on a college application?
Emerson Longmire, graduate of Prescott Academy, honors.
But no one would take me seriously if I told them about it, so I downloaded and printed the twenty-three page application for admittance and the scholarship off of the schools website in the dead of night. I filled it out over the course of a week, working on it whenever I had a few spare moments, hiding it under magazines on my desk whenever someone walked in on me working on it. When it was finished, I put it all in a large envelope and sent it off, paying for everything myself because if I were to ask for stamps, my mother would become curious. And once she starts snooping around, she doesn’t stop until she finds what she’s looking for.
That was all a month ago.
The application was supposed to take three to six weeks to be processed and a reply sent to me, so since the beginning of last week I was making sure that every day, I was the one to retrieve the mail. Not that I had anything better to do during the summer after sophomore year. As I saw the mail truck drive by, I took a deep breath and slipped on my flip flops and walked unsteadily down the driveway. I closed my eyes, held my breath, and took the mail out. I swore my heart skipped a beat when I saw the thick navy blue envelope addressed to me.
Or maybe two
It might’ve stopped completely
Holding in a squeal, I raced back into the house, tossed the rest of the mail onto the dining room table and made my way up the two flights of stairs to my attic bedroom. With my back against the sloped wall, I opened the envelope with trembling fingers.
“Dear Ms. Longmire
Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you of your admission to Prescott Academy.”
I clapped my hand over my mouth to muffle the scream of excitement and kept reading.
“Your admission to Prescott is evidence of the Admission Committee’s confidence in your potential, as well as recognition of your fine scholastic achievement and unique personal qualities. We believe you will make a fine addition to the Prescott student body this fall.
Furthermore, I am delighted to inform you that you have qualified for the Donovan Scholarship, thus paying for your junior and seniors years here at Prescott. Please inform us via the enclosed registration forms of your intent to attend Prescott in the fall, no later than fifteen days after receiving this letter. We look forward to your reply, and your arrival in the fall.
Susan D. Wright
Director of Admissions”
I gaped open mouthed at the letter for a while. This couldn’t be real. It had to be a dream. But it wasn’t. Just to be cliché, I pinched my arm to wake myself up, but like I already knew, I was awake, and this was real. I gathered up the papers and put them back in the envelope. The time had come to inform my family of my secretive application. I creeped downstairs and to my mom’s door. I walked in, where she was reading in her favorite armchair. She put down her book when I walked in.
“What is it?” She always knew when I was upset about something. I took a deep breath and began the speech I had been practicing since I first filled out the applications.
“I filled out the application to Prescott secretly last month and sent it out and I applied for a scholarship too and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before but I know you would just tell me that I was wasting my time and that we didn’t have the money to send me there anyway and that I should just stay here in Connecticut with you and Jason and Dad but I can’t stay here mom I have to get out I just feel so SUFFOCATED in this dumb small town and I want to travel and meet new people and meet people from all around the world and learn things that I want to know not just stuff I need to memorize for a standardized test and I got the letter back today.” I said that all very quickly and in one breath. I took another deep breath and started once more, not pausing to even look up at my mom’s sure to be angry face. “Mom, I got the letter back today and I got in. I got the scholarship too. They’re paying for my tuition and room and board and uniforms and meal plan and everything. Just please don’t shoot this down right away, okay? Think about it at least?” I finally looked up. Mom was smiling. She was SMILING? She got up and stepped forward to give me a hug.
“I know about the application Em. I found it on your desk when you had first started on it, but I knew you didn’t want me to know, so I didn’t say anything about it. I figured that if you didn’t get it, you wouldn’t share it with me and it was better if I just didn’t say anything.” Well, she was right about that. I wouldn’t have told her.
“And of course I want you to stay here at home and your father, Jason, and I. But I think that it is also important for a smart young lady like you to take chances” Oh my God. I thought. She’s letting me go. She’s letting me out. “Which is why I want you to go.” I screamed and threw arms around her, my long brown hair swinging forward and getting caught in my mouth.
“Thank you so much mom oh my god I can’t believe it” I said, tearing up.
“You deserve it, Emerson. You’ve worked so hard all your life, you deserve this opportunity. And besides, Jason won’t stop bugging me about taking your bedroom. You never know, maybe he’ll follow in your footsteps and get that scholarship too in a few years when he’s a freshman. Now go fill out those intent forms, I’ll let dad know.” I gave her one last hug and ran back to my room, grabbed a pen, and started filling out the forms. Term started at the end of the month. I had three more weeks at home before leaving for Prescott, and I couldn’t be more scared