Awards Season

This February, I had the wonderful honor of going to the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. I was invited by a good friend who had access to the awards, and he offered my wife and me passes to the event. Of course, I wasn’t about to turn down this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! We ended up staying at the Ritz-Carlton near the Staples Center where the Grammys were held, and it was a very high-class affair.

The day before, my wife and I went to a Gwen Stefani concert. We saw several celebrities milling about (including Jack Nicholson, whom I got a picture of), but even more, we got to hang out for a minute with Gwen!

Then came the big day. At a pre-Grammy reception, I spotted Malcolm Butler, the New England Patriots’ cornerback who intercepted the ball in that game-defining moment of the Super Bowl. Actually, judging by the crowd, it looked like a few invites were sent out to the Super Bowl champs, who had only won the Super Bowl the week before the Grammys! Another Patriots player, Julian Edelman, popped up as well. There was something surreal about seeing these players in person. Both of these guys are smaller than I imagined… I felt I could take them!

During the ceremony, I was a little closer to Lady Gaga and Common, who more recently won an Oscar for his work on the song “Glory” (featured in the film “Selma”). He delivered a very moving speech at the Academy Awards. My wife and I watched the ceremony from a suite a good distance from the stage. It was high up and set back from the stage, so the view wasn’t ideal. We had to use binoculars to see much of what was going on. But again, the event was a tremendous experience, and even though we may have been a good distance from the stage, we were still there, a part of all the excitement.

While we were out in LA, my wife and I also got to visit with the minister who married us 30 years ago! He had been my wife’s minister most of her life before he moved out to California. We had a great time with him catching up, and we got to see the work he has done with his church, which is designated a historical landmark. Of course, like all great vacations, we had to wrap it up and head home, and since we are in the middle of financial aid season, it’s been very busy.

By now, most college applicants have gotten their letters of acceptance back and have moved on to getting their FAFSAs and other financial aid forms taken care of. This stage can be very overwhelming for parents and students since there is so much to do with even more deadlines approaching. One thing we’re preparing to help families with is the appeals process. During March and April when those financial aid award letters come in, the numbers may not be what they expect. Families using our comprehensive program will have their awards analyzed, and we’ll go to work to appeal if the award isn’t fair.

Another thing we’ve been working on are our workshops. We’ve recently met with 32 families, and 21 of them decided on a private consultation. I’ll be talking with these folks over the month to get them as much help as possible. You might say I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire as so many families prep for the upcoming school year.

—Kevin Anderson

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