How did I manage to get through High School with XXY? This is a small account of Ryan Bregante’s high school years, we will dive into more details on our Living With XXY Podcast Series.
Freshman year, the anxiety and fear of just not knowing how it was going to go. I went to The University of San Diego High School, a coed catholic school with deep roots in football, basketball, and its tradition. My school was a division 3 with around 1200 students, 300 per grade. I had an IEP, tutors, extended time on tests, and was in all of the entry-level classes, pre biology, pre-algebra, and an English class with just myself, 4 Japanese kids, and the teacher. Test-taking was one of my hardest challenges in my four years in high school with XXY, the pressure of time mixed with my very slow reading and comprehension was the ultimate toxic cocktail. I attended all of the awkward dances, I played freshman basketball and tried out for volleyball in the spring. I happened to make varsity volleyball freshman year.
Sophomore year English was one of my hardest classes, I remember taking notes was extremely difficult in high school with XXY. Trying to listen, then process and write down what the teacher was saying as the teacher continued to talk. My auditory processing to the pen was incredibly frustrating, by the time I was done writing down chapter one the teacher was already talking about chapter three. My religion class teacher did popcorn reading in her class where you read a paragraph out loud and then you call on someone else. Once the class and teacher learned my reading out loud skills were very slow, the kids used to always pick on me and laugh. My workaround was, in class, I was always reading one paragraph ahead of the class so I could use my visual memory to remember the words, that way when I was picked on I already knew what I was reading. After a few months, my parents learned of what was happening and the popcorn reading was no longer allowed!
Volleyball was something I looked forward to throughout the entire school year, it gave me the drive to get through school. I was also a drummer in a garage pop-punk band outside of school with my best friends from childhood who didn’t go to my school. We made our own music and we were inspired by Green Day, Social Distortion, MXPX, NoFx, Flogging Molly, and The Misfits. Our name was 2 story outhouse which was more of a joke, we didn’t want people to take us seriously cause we kinda sucked, but it was such a fun experience. I didn’t have very many friends at my high school that I hung out with outside of school. The band also kept us away from partying, getting into trouble and we had our ways of having fun.
Junior year was one of the most important years of my life up to that point, I have learned so many life lessons looking back. Well, I had a girlfriend and a little bit more of social life. I attended all of the dances and Prom, but the girlfriend also created major distractions, I didn’t want to do homework after school. I spent a lot of time with her, she had a car and her license so I didn’t see the point in getting mine. My school work started to decline and math was my hardest class. I had all the extra help outside of school I needed but I wasn’t doing my homework and it was a huge section of my grade. Men’s volleyball is something southern California takes seriously. Our volleyball team was on the path to win CIF and go on to All-State Championships. Recruiters were showing up to our games to look at the seniors and see what potential lies ahead. Our band was starting to play some shows at local concert halls, other high school talent shows. I felt like I was starting to warm up to what high school was all about like you see in the movies. High school with XXY YouTube Video.
Well, it all came crashing down and I remember the feeling of my stomach dropping to the bottom of my feet like it was yesterday. I was a C average kid barely scraping by with a GPA of 2.0. I remember looking at my math class grade and seeing a D- which would drop me to a 1.6 at the semester. To play sports you have to maintain a 2.0 average or higher. My math teacher pulled me aside after class and told me that I can no longer play volleyball for the remainder of the year. I had to walk into my coach’s office and tell her the news (this sends chills down my body till this day). My coach looked at me and said not only have you let me down but you have let your entire team down. She told me that I was the one who had to walk into the gym and tell my team, that she wasn’t going to do it. I remember walking into the gym, the team getting ready for practice, and not being able to suit up saying “I can’t play for the remainder of the seasons due to my grades”. The look on the team’s face, the anger in some, and the pure disappointment in others. The coach asked me to leave the gym and I was not allowed to watch practice either. At the time I didn’t realize that not keeping my grades up was a form of selfishness. I was grounded at home, not able to go to band practice, or see my girlfriend for at least a month. It would take me twice as hard the remainder of the year to get my grades back to a 2.0 average so I didn’t have to attend summer school.
Senior year. As most of my classmates had art, off-campus PE, and lots of elective classes, I was in classes with the other kids who were struggling to just graduate with all of the credits they needed. The only off-campus access I had was for our 45 minute Lunch period. My girlfriend decided to break up with me, which was a devastating blow that took me almost 6 months to get over. The only things that kept me distracted during high school with XXY was a mandatory ceramics class and volleyball. I talked to my coach senior year and she allowed me to try out for the team again. I remember when everyone was getting their acceptance letters to college and planning their futures, while I was just praying I would be able to walk at graduation. I attended my senior prom, single, and counted down the days until graduation. I had always known I wanted to become a Chef since I was a little boy and knew I would attend culinary school once I had work experience under my belt. I graduated in the class of 2004 and attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in the fall of 2005. More Education after high school for those who have Klinefelter syndrome.
Adjusting to a new learning environment since high school had so many more students than middle school.
Switching classes and learning the layout of where each class is can be difficult for some kids.
All of the different age groups can be overwhelming but at the same time allows you to make friends with all age groups.
Understanding that you have to go to your locker to get the right tools for the right class. I wish I came up with a system to keep one pencil and pen with me at all times.
Time management, taking notes and learning how to use executive functions. This was extremely hard for me, so my teachers talked with students who were willing to help by sharing their notes at the end of each week.
After School I had a tutor and I went to a few learning centers to help with teaching me a more effective way to study. I used to dictate my English papers to a college tutor before there where apps.
Staying organized with homework. Build a system that works for you.
Get an IEP or 504 plan. We had a learning center at school that gave kids with learning disabilities extra time on tests This helped a lot.
Speaking up was difficult but I needed to let my teachers know by asking questions and speaking about my needs.
Having a transition plan in place from year to year is a good idea. High school is way more strict about tardiness, use of electronics and getting in trouble for cheating or fighting.
Parents finding the right way to contact teachers. Letting them know about your sons Klinefelter syndrome and how they can help your kid.
High school with xxy is definitely exciting and challenging at the same time but if you try and have a good connection with your child and teachers you can help your son overcome the challenges and find success.
Dating, I would encourage your son to go to dances. Once old enough encourage him to date. Social life is necessary to feel accepted with peers.
Try and have fun and stay positive. You will get thru this.