Monday, February 06, 2006

Remembering High School, or, well, it's just a meme

I picked this high school meme up from Pharyngula. I was not going to write it, but my wife just got an invitation to her 20 year high school reunion. She wants to go, so I will likely be driving her there. We are still thinking about it, but it also made me recall this meme, so I figured why not. Thus, here goes. Read at your own peril.

*Where did you graduate from high school and what year?

I graduated from Colegio San Antonio Abad, in Humacao, Puerto Rico. The year was 1988. A note is in order. In Spanish, the word "colegio" refers to a private school, and CSAA was a Catholic high school, run by Benedictine monks. The word confuses some people who think "colegio" means "college." The term "college" in English would translate in Spanish as "colegio." However, an institution of higher education, university or college, would be a "universidad" (university). Go figure. On an ironic note, I had a very Catholic education, and yet it made me very rebellious and critical. In fact, I am now a recovering Catholic, so to speak. Actually, heathen is probably a bit more accurate (haha). Just leave it at I can be somewhat spiritual, but nowhere near religious. Why did I go to a Catholic school? Public schools in Puerto Rico are notoriously bad (with some rare exceptions), and my father worked long and very hard to keep his boys out of them. He made a lot of sacrifices, but he made sure his boys got a good education. Catholic schools in Puerto Rico happen to be excellent in that regard. Keep in mind, this was way before the current scandals of sexual abuse.

*Who was your significant other?

I didn't have one. I fell in the "nerd" category; I even wanted to become an engineer. In retrospect, I should have known I was destined to be a teacher when I was doing all that tutoring in English classes for my classmates. I was so "bad" that I would do the reading on whatever the lesson for English was, Shakespeare or Poe or other short fiction, then basically explicate it for my classmates who gathered around like I was some college professor. Needless to say, my classmates liked it, but the English teacher was none too pleased. The problem? He knew the students did well, but he found out it was because of my "teaching," not because they actually read the stuff. Who knew I had a future in teaching? Actually, my mother knew, but she did not reveal it until later. Mothers always know; they just don't tell you right away so you have to learn on your own. That I leave for another story. At any rate, I did not have a significant other until I got to college. I was doing well academically in high school, good enough to get my classmates through English, but apparently not good enough for one of the girls. C'est la vie.

*Was your Prom a night to remember?

Yes, in the sense that it took place in a very fancy ballroom in a hotel in El Condado, an upscale sector in San Juan. Remember, I went to a private school. My parents may not have been wealthy, but a lot of my classmates were. Anyhow, other than the locale, not terribly memorable. Actually, what I do remember is that the next morning I was on a plane to New York to visit relatives. From there, we drove to Indiana (my father loves road trips. I get the gypsy wandering spirit from him) to do a campus visit to Purdue University in West Lafayette, where I was admitted to the freshman engineering program. The only reason I went to Prom is because I got the "it's a once in a lifetime event, and you should not miss it because you are young" speech. In retrospect, I probably could have skipped it with no regrets.

*What was your favorite song you danced to the night of Prom?

I danced, but I don't recall any one song.

*Do you own all four yearbooks?

No. I just own the one for senior year, and I think my parents paid for that one under protest. Also, I did my 9th grade at a different school, then the last three years of high school at CSAA. This meant some of my classmates had known each other for many years, and I barely came in at the end of the cycle, so to speak. In fact, my family moved a lot while I was growing up, meaning I was not in a school for a period of longer than three years.

*What was your favorite movie in high school?

The Star Wars trilogy (the original, not the new CGI enhanced, special effects laden new stuff. Back then, it was just a rumor Lucas had other movies before and after the first ones).

*What was your number one choice of college in high school?

Purdue University. I did get admitted to a few other places, but since I wanted to be an engineer, at the time it was the place to go. And while I did switch majors, it was still a good choice.

*What radio station did you jam out in high school?

There was more than one. I do remember Alfa Rock 106, in part because they had programs to play "both sides of an LP" (read here if you have no idea what an LP was). You could hear rock albums cover to cover.

*Were you involved in any organizations or clubs?

Very little in terms of what the high school offered. Part of the reason was carpooling in 9th grade, so it meant we left school as soon as the bell rang. Later, I got access to my mom's car, but not too much leeway to go with it. Being the eldest meant my parents watched me like hawks while my younger brothers "got away with murder." I think by the time they got to my baby brother, they figured as long as he does not do anything illegal, he is ok. Anyhow, I was somewhat involved in National Honor Society and Model U.N.

However, I was also a Boy Scout. My parents were extremely supportive of this. I cannot thank my father enough for his involvement with me, all the driving he did to take me to camps and activities. Heck, he would even give rides home to friends who were stranded, or whose parents were not as diligent. Hey, back then, you could do that. Today given how litigious people are, if the kid is stranded, you probably left him there rather than getting involved. But back then, families did watch out for each other. I could go to my friend's houses and just walk right in, and viceversa, and their parents knew me as my parents knew my friends. I am proud to say I am an Eagle Scout. I learned a lot of values and skills that serve me to this day. Actually, my close friends in high school years were scouts. By the way, none of them went to the school I did. Many of them went to public schools actually. At any rate, Scouting was also a way for me to see outside the shelter of the private school.

*What was your favorite class in high school?

English. Keep in mind that in Puerto Rico English is taught as a second language. I also liked Spanish (the literature, not the grammar) and history. Profesor Rosas, my history teacher was literally nuts (his tests were legendary feats of difficulty), but he sure made sure I learned about history (there is another story waiting to be written).

*Who was your biggest crush in high school?

None really. Yes, I liked girls as much as any other healthy hetero male teen, but I guess I was more focused in the academics.

*Would you say you've changed a lot since high school?

It's been 18 years: I sure hope so. I would like to think I have learned something since then.

*Your worst memory of HS?

Not applicable. These years were pretty tranquil overall. I did well academically and got along with my classmates ok. Weekends I was often in Scouting activities (those are the good memories actually).

*What do you miss the most about it?

Not much really.

*Did you have a car?

Yes, my mom's station wagon, a Chevy Malibu.

*What were your school's colors?

Blue and white.

*Did you own a cellphone?

In 1988? Get real, pagers were barely getting around. Heck, technology-wise, we were learning BASIC in computer class. Little did I know computers and then internet would be soon taking off. Seems like the Dark Ages now (or a simpler time?)

*Did you leave campus for lunch?


*If so, where was your favorite place to go eat?

Not applicable.

*Were you always late for class?


*Did you ever have to stay for Saturday School?

No. Anyhow, our colegio had no such thing.

*Did you ever ditch?


*When it comes time for the reunion, will you be there?

Probably not. A trip to Puerto Rico is a bit of a long way, and usually plane fare is expensive. Plus I hate airlines and their service (or lack thereof). Would be nice, but no strong feelings about it.

1 comment:

Retro Visor said...