I received a call at work from SLUH, informing me that I would not be invited back for my Senior year.

I missed two full weeks of school when I had shingles and mono consecutively. I had doctor’s notes of diagnosis and had made arrangements with each professor to catch up. The last one I was to complete was theology, and the professor objected to the administration’s decision to fail me on that grade despite our arrangement. My GPA was in the top 10% of the class and would have met minimums even with the failed theology class.

Nonetheless, the official reason for me being uninvited was academic performance, though this was communicated by the Vice Principal for Discipline and not by his peer for Adacemics. While insisting the rationale was performance, he also told me I would be invited back if I agreed to return to my parents’ house.

Several classmate staged a sit-in of protest when the year started, but you can’t fight The Man. I became a high-school dropout.

I did consult with the head of Colleen’s high school (Ritenour), who assessed that my Junior year at SLUH had already exceeded their most advanced curricula and suggested I simply get a GED certificate.

My mother enrolled me in another school, Crossroads, that I attended for a few months but turned out to be also behind SLUH curricula and oriented towards “special” students in a very different way than SLUH. They also advised me to get a GED, and weren’t particularly happy to have a student living outside his parents’ home.

So I got a GED, which at the time Missouri called a Graduation Equivalency Diploma. But it wasn’t really equivalent, I learned, when I lost my National Merit Scholarship which was going to fund a bachelor’s degree at CMU or MIT. I quickly went from choosing between Northeast schools to having no college plan at all.