Friday, March 13, 2009

High School Daze

The last two Guest Blogs by Loopy made me reminisce to the first semester of my Junior Year of High School.

At the close of the sophomore year we had to choose our elective classes for the following Fall Semester. My Student Advisor suggested that I take Journalism; he said that I should do well. The teacher of this course was one of my past English teachers and I thought that he was pretty cool; so I said OK.

That left a half credit (minor) class, and there weren’t many to choose from on the list, for me to select. Most minor classes only met two or three days per week. Looking over the list, I noticed that Public Speaking was taught 2 days per week. It was also a ninth period (last of the day) class. When you didn’t have a ninth period class, you could go to the Library, study hall or go home an hour early. The light bulb above my head lit up and I chose Public Speaking as my second elective.

The first four weeks of Journalism class were easy; mostly reading and lecturing by our teacher and very little homework. After the sixth week we were given assignments to write about various events that were happening in our neighborhoods; using the journalistic principles that we had already learned in class. I spent a lot of time reading the Chicago Newspapers to learn how to write a good new story. Prior to this time I would only read the Headline stories, the Sports section and the Comics.

Someone in our class dubbed our journalism teacher Superman (Disguised as Joe Wiley, the mild-mannered Faculty Sponsor for a great High School newspaper; fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way!) because he was tall, in good physical shape and wore Clark Kent style glasses. He even like the sobriquet.

After 8 weeks of class, 3 of us were invited (by Superman) to join the newspaper (Herald) staff because three seniors were graduating at the end of the semester. I felt honored to be chosen. The three of us were given the worst assignments and not allowed to write anything that would be printed (like Jimmy Olsen; we were gofers). However, the senior staff would often plagiarize articles that we had written.

We felt that this was unfair so we rebelled. Our complaints to Superman were of no avail. The leader of the revolt was the second best (GPA wise) student in our high school (the first being a Polish girl named Marie). Mykhaila was of Russian/German ancestry; she entered High School at the age of 12 and had just turned 15 years old.

Her plan was simple; we would fabricate a plausible news story and let the senior staff read it. They would, of course, reject it and then re-write it and publish it (which they did).

When the next edition of the Herald was published, our story was on the front page. We took the paper and our original draft to Superman and told him that it was a spurious story that we had written to get back at the seniors. He laughed!

The next semester Mykhaila was the Herald’s editor-in-chief and I was promoted to galley editing. These were both senior student positions and we were second semester juniors. We had won the battle!

Later, as a senior, I wrote the Sports Column (which Superman basically called a Gossip Column – I was a name dropper) and continued my galley work.

Mykhaila and I were also in the same Public Speaking class (we had the same advisor). She went on to be the Captain of the Debating Team in the second semester of our Junior Year. I was an alternative until the last semester of my senior year; after she graduated a semester early.

In a mini reunion with some of my High School classmates, some 40 years later, I was told that Mykhaila graduated from the University Of Chicago at the age of 19. The question was posed; why hadn’t I stayed in contact with one of my favorite high school friends? For lack of any other answer I said “I wasn’t physically attracted to her”. It’s a sad commentary, but it’s true.

The Beach Bum

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Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

Good story.

Sat Mar 14, 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Hardware Bob said...


Not to question your excelant memory,but are you sure Mr. Wiley's name was Joe. I cannot find my Harrisonion along with numerous other things in order to check it out. He was a good guy and Bruce and I worked very hard on the Harold Staff.


Tue Mar 17, 10:04:00 AM  
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