Last night we trooped over to St. B's for their open house, and happily, Mike's class was cancelled and he could accompany us. It was an interesting evening. Well, the school tour was. The "poo event" we experienced later with Hank was not, but hey. You can't win 'em all.
As soon as we pulled up I noticed something: this school was MUCH larger than St. A's. In terms of the facility size and the student body, it's about twice as large. We barely got a parking spot, even just as the open house was beginning, and headed in.
Right away, my impression was made. I thought to myself, "Oh, Mike will hate this." :) It was a very nice school, don't get me wrong. But it was very "rah rah," a little bit in your face. Motivational sayings about reaching your full potential were hanging from the ceiling, and everywhere touted the fact that this school has received designations from the state as being a "school of excellence." They really sold that point.
We got a tour guide, which was a good thing, since I think we would have gotten lost otherwise. The facilities were very nice, more modern than St. A's, but it didn't feel as warm or homey. The school did seem to have a strong Catholic identity. Each classroom had an icon of a patron saint posted, and school Masses are held at least twice a month. They offer a few more classes than St. A's, such as both French and Spanish (St. A's has only Spanish), drama and dance. And their hot lunches seemed a tad nicer while being less expensive. The tuition is about $100 or so cheaper per year than St. A's. But honestly, over the course of a year, that's pretty minimal. Anything within a $300 range annually is not a deal breaker.
When we left, I quickly gathered Mike and Hank's opinions. It was unanimous: we all like St. A's better by a mile. The vibe at St. B's, while still filled with nice people, just wasn't as warm and familial. Mike even admitted to liking St. A's from the moment we entered the school. Here, we all had the opposite reaction.
Sooo.... next week I'm going to call St. A's to inquire about how many spaces they have in first grade for the fall and see what information we'd have to bring should we register Hank. They only require $60 at registration, another point in their favor (rather than $150 at St. B's). The following week, we'll then make a decision and if we go that route (which it seems like we will at this point) I'll register Hank that week, well before the end of February. I couldn't be more thrilled. :)