We had family parties on both sides on Monday, both at about 6 to 9 p.m.  The Hills were at our ward building and the Fosters were on the other side of town, at Butch’s church.  We started at the near one; I planned to divide my time in half between them.  Shane was in no hurry, if he planned to go at all, and I had to bug him into taking me to the Fosters’ at just after 8.  We picked up Shanna first, who’d already gone home.  We saw the families of Kim, Donna, Burke, Callie, and Jana at the first, and of Butch, Marsha (with their grandma, Lola), Warren, Brian (Carol and Rachel), and Loen at the second (Kathy was there too, and Cory and Dana were leaving when we got there; Ken and "Aunt Pat" [Tarbox] had come and gone, and maybe another [Maralee?]).  So we missed Carl at the first (Grandma Ruth was there), and Becky, Gogi, Adrienne, Trudy, and of course Blaine at the second.
I got a lukewarm send-off from LDSBC yesterday as I checked my grades online.  School ended two Fridays ago, and the grade submission deadline for teachers was last Friday.  I had five A (4.0) grades.  I had an A- (3.7) for one class because the teacher had not given me credit for some late work that she’d accepted.  I’d gotten a 91.87%, while the true grade, if my work had been counted, would’ve been above 93%, perhaps as high as 94%, depending on the "weight" she gave them.  I’d tried futilely to rectify the grade last week by e-mail, phone, and visit, but the teacher was nowhere to be found.  At last I was comforted by the thought that I’d still make my goal even with the A-, if my other grades went as planned.  I’d expected a B- (2.7) grade from the remaining class, but I surprisedly received a solid C (2.0) instead.  I checked the separate class assignment website for an explanation of the C grade.  When school ended, the teacher had given me 120 out of 150 "participation" points because of a few absences, but by last Friday he had mysteriously sunk the number to 90/150, dropping my net grade of 81.26% to a 78.11%, which somehow was reported as a C (2.0) instead of a C+ (2.4).  The final result is that my cumulative GPA for LDSBC finishes at 3.697, when if either or both of those teachers had fulfilled my expectations, it would’ve been between 3.706 and 3.740.
A BYU representative at our school gave me a sheet that reported that BYU’s minimum for transfer admission was 3.6, while the average was 3.7.  In my spring visit, the counselor told me the absolute lowest was 3.5, with 3.7 being competitive.  Anyway, I’ve now fallen short of that number, although it’s possible BYU will include my summer term credits in my transcript, which would bring the total GPA to 3.735.  My thought was to go to BYU Idaho (or maybe USU) if BYU didn’t admit me.  Whether my future has just been altered by the two seeming mistakes of these teachers remains to be seen — and BYU might have rejected me anyway because of too many repeated classes.  The deadline has passed, but I’ll try to find out if it’s still possible to change the grades.
Christmas is coming.  These academic disturbances aside, my future relies very much more on the events of that ancient day… the birth of the Saviour.  Far more crucial it is to find out if it’s still possible to obtain the mercy of an offended heaven whose expectations I myself have not met.  I know I have broken many of God’s laws; and while I try to live normally now, walking by sight, and chasing after the imaginations of this life, I know after death I’ll be in the hands of the Unknown, to see if I have followed whatever knowledge I’ve been granted of it.
All religions do fit together, finally — the same as all grades at LDSBC fit together into a scale of 0.0 to 4.0.  And my goal for life is higher than even a respectable 3.7, that I may be admitted to a yet more supreme eternal future.
None of us are here to do poorly.  Study well, fellow students of life.  Merry Christmas; remember the Christ.
-Steve Foster
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