Gwendolyn Toth

Gwendolyn Toth is the director of the New York City-based early music ensemble, ARTEK, and a soloist on early keyboards (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano). She is married to harpsichordist Dongsok Shin, and they have three children.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life as a parent

As I write this, I am looking back from a point several months ahead. What, exactly, made fall of 2011 such an incredibly hectic time in my life? Not so many concerts... One glance at my book tells me. My third child, Adrian, is now 14. Time for high school applications.

Finding a high school in New York City: somehow I escaped this with my two daughters, because they attended a K-12 school and simply stayed on from 8th grade into 9th grade. Not so for Adrian. His school, the British International School, ends at 8th grade (Year 9 British style).

Ah...the pleasure of visiting over 40 different schools, public and private. Some public schools were shockingly below the level of my expectations. Some, surprisingly good. However, all seemed quite certain that no excused days of school would be allowed for any reason. My son is a competitive figure skater, and can reasonably expect to miss between 3-6 days in 2012-2013. Unacceptable, I was told.

This news made us look harder at the private school options (all expensive, but some promising financial aid assistance.) Many more tours and applications, later, we finally applied early decision to a brand new school, Avenues - quite near to the skating rink. (That's approximately two more hours available out of each day in subways travel savings, for Adrian.) This all involved any number of fairly traumatic tests, applications, essays, and complete disclosure of every aspect of Adrian's and our life and bank accounts.

We are happy to report that Adrian was accepted and will begin at Avenues in Fall 2012. I'm looking forward to some rest until college applications. Need advice on New York City high schools? Email me!

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