Parent Perspective: Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic - Midland School

Parent Perspective: Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic

Want to know what it's really like to be the parent of a Midlander? Well, who better to tell you than our parents themselves! In this series, we’ll ask our students the tough questions about all things Midland, from academics to the growth they've seen. This is the Parent Perspective.

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Interview with Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic, Parents of Jasper '23

Winter 2020

What’s it like being a parent to a teenager that goes to boarding school?

Robin: We miss him when he’s not here, but are happy knowing he’s happy where he is.

Cathy: With only one child it was way harder on us as parents then it is on our son, the adjustment was intense at first, but now we have freedom we can take advantage of while school is in session, and when school is out, we are able to drop everything, slow down and just enjoy each other.

Jasper ’23 and his classmates at the beach during their 2021 MIDterm: Bike, Hike & Surf.

What advice do you have for parents who are worried about the image of “sending their child away” to boarding school?

Cathy: It’s hard, but the most important thing is allowing your child the space to grow up and become their best self. Midland does this much better than most families can, while Midland doesn’t take the place of your family, it allows your child to have a supportive and beautiful place that is their own, in additional to their family. This places gives them their own purpose, it’s hard to explain this to friends and family, but after school starts and your child comes home and talks about their school experience, with confidence and excitement that I’m sure they will, the judgment by others will go away.

Robin: As hard as it can be for parents to admit, adolescence is the start on the path of building independence from one’s parents. For us it’s been easy to say that the opportunity to be with a community of his peers and grow from this experience is something we could never give him. This experience meets teenagers in a natural place for where they are in their development as people.

How has Midland’s academic rigor been for your child? 

Cathy: I feel like the academic rigor was just right. Freshman year it seemed the challenge was more in adjusting to what was expected both in and outside the classroom, then the academics. Sophomore year seems more challenging in the actual academic work, the bar seems higher, and our son seems to be ready to take on the challenge.

How has your child grown while at Midland?

Robin: We’ve noticed in our son that he’s got more pride in the contribution he makes to his school community — yes, chopping wood and lighting the shower fire really does emphasize the importance of the part each of them plays!

Cathy: The most obvious is confidence in himself, but his sense of responsibility to others and his understanding what it means to be counted on is remarkably different as well.

How did you know that Midland was right for your child?

Cathy: I watched our son closely on our tour of Midland, and after shadowing a student. Exploring the campus he looked comfortable, he was smiling talking with the other students, his anxiousness seemed to melt away. It felt like he could fit in and it just felt right.

What advice do you have for parents who have a child who has been accepted to Midland and they are hesitant about making the leap to boarding?

Robin: It’s a 1 year commitment, not a 4 year commitment, and if you don’t give it a try you’ll never know if you would have loved it.

Cathy: It feels like it’s going to be such a big leap, and a big risk at first for the child, but watching it happen it really was only a big leap for us as parents. After two weeks at school, it felt natural for our son, he was totally happy and ready. It was much harder for us, than it was for him, and dropping him back off at school and seeing how comfortable and excited he is to go back every time makes it hard for us to remember that we felt hesitant to make the leap originally.

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