Small Town High in the 80s

Do you say, “Dear Diary” when you blog? Dear Bloggery?

I’m working on a newspaper article that involves revisiting my last two years in highschool. The 80s. Think “Flashdance,” Reganomics, the Me Generation, birth of the yuppies, hippies in recovery, the corporate suit, 501 jeans and Van slip ons. So in the last two days I interviewed the then Superintendent and the Supervisor of Custodial services and I realized their reality of what was happening and my reality were wholly different things.

I was focused on such important matters like whether or not I should cheer another year or just drop out of organized activities all together, whether or not I would go to college, and if I didn’t go to college, how the hell I would get out of the small town that was smothering me. If I did go to college, where would it be? We certainly couldn’t afford the application fees to more than a few schools and I wouldn’t be making visits to the campuses. Another main concern: my love life. How would that pan out if I moved?

After talking to my two sources, I felt some feelings coming back I had lost. This seemed to be a time when the staff really did put the students first. One controversial comment made by the principal to a staff member went like this.

Staff member: “You treat us like second class citizens.”
Principal: “You are second class citizens. The students are the first class citizens.”

Hoo rah! Who knew? Would have loved to be in that staff meeting. And having sat in plenty of staff meetings of my own as a teacher, I respect this attitude so much. It’s a hard one to have when you’re up against unions and could potentially be slammed up the head for that comment.

Sure, there were high expectations, but there was a strong awareness to go the extra mile for students who came from lower income backgrounds. If a student wanted to play sports, but didn’t have the shoes, the shoes would appear from the staff. I remembered how having a counselor who believed in me, constantly nudged me in the direction of Southern California and gave me the confidence to continue on with my education was such a vital factor in my choosing to apply to UCLA and Stanford.

I move through this life, open to dropping in to that just-right moment, when a child is searching for direction and meaning, and being able to offer that same power that I apparently learned at my high school in the 80s without ever knowing it like I do today.

1 thought on “Small Town High in the 80s

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s