Neither my wife nor I grew up in Alabama. We moved to Birmingham in 2001, and soon after our son Andy was born in 2004, my wife and I began to think about school options for our children. More accustomed to the highly competitive (and more expensive) private school market in other parts of the country, we assumed one puts your child’s name on a waiting list soon after birth (not true in Birmingham, it turns out). We visited Highlands and a few other area schools. The decision was an easy one: Highlands offered the right “fit” for our family. The school was diverse and open-minded. Teachers encouraged children to explore and create while they learned, rather than just memorizing facts.
The community culture and atmosphere at Highlands was clear from that first step on campus – people were happy to be there. The children were laughing in class and the teachers were enjoying their children’s laughter. The library was full of quality books, the cafeteria served healthy foods, and the school clearly balanced arts and athletics along with traditional curriculum materials.
This spring, Andy will graduate from Highlands’ 8th grade (and our daughter Rosa will complete her 5th grade year). Over a dozen years since our first step on campus, and after nearly a decade of daily visits for drop-off and pick-up, little has changed. Highlands is our community. Our children’s friends are at Highlands, and many of our closest adult friends in Birmingham are the parents of our children’s friends. Our family has met intelligent, diverse, and interesting people at Highlands, and they will be lifelong friends. I have had career opportunities elsewhere, but we have stayed in Birmingham because it feels like home. Highlands is a big reason for that.
David C. Schwebel, PhD
University Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Highlands Parent and Board of Trustees Member