Whatever happened to high school?

In today’s Herald, Chelsea Kellner wrote a nice story on Chatham Central High School and how students can go from being a sophomore to a junior, or a junior to a senior in mid-year if they work toward extra credits.
We’ve done stories in the past as well on Lee Early College, a school for students who want to focus on a particular field and earn college credits and a high school diploma all at once.
We’ve also done stories on home schooling, and we’ve done stories on GED programs.
I understand the purpose of it all — to keep students from dropping out, to keep their interest and to help them toward a life where they can succeed after school.
I get it, and I appreciate it.
That doesn’t mean I like it. Then again, I’m sort of old-fashioned in that way.

I think all of these new programs and schools are tearing at one of the greatest parts of being a teenager in the United States — the high school experience. I know it’s not for everybody, and by no means do I think those four years should be “High School Musical” over and over again.
I wasn’t what you’d consider “popular” in high school. I went to a small school surrounded by cow pastures and farms in northeast Texas, but even there, I had a great time. I experienced the ups and downs of dating girls, developing friendships, getting a sense of humor, learning lessons through sports and extra-curricular activities like mock trial and the Science Fair.
And, oh yeah, I learned a thing or two in class as well.

I hear news reports that we’re falling behind other countries when it comes to schooling. Schools in the far east go year-round, and there’s a lot of pressure on these students to succeed. I understand in the world market, it’s important that we’re churning out bright young students to compete globally.
But I’m not a “big picture” kind of guy. I like to look at life on an individual basis.
I’m not an MIT grad who’s developing the next great math formula. Instead, I’m doing a job I love after learning skills in a high school and college that I loved being a part of.
1990 (my freshman year of high school) through 1998 (my fourth year of college … uhm, I went longer) were my “growing up” years.
To me, they wouldn’t have been the same had I skipped out on the social part of high school and went straight into developing my “trade” in college. I had to grow, and I had to develop my own sense of responsibility, rather than have a school system impose it on me.
I’m not everybody, though, and obviously, this doens’t work for everybody.
I’m just worried that we’re de-emphasizing the social skills we learn along the way. Who wants a country full of robot drones?

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3 thoughts on “Whatever happened to high school?

  1. I totally agree. Yes we all want our children to be the brightest they can be and we want them to go to a good college and succeed. But honestly, right now I want them to enjoy being kids. To have fun and live life. You have far too much tiime later in life to just “exist”. Now is their time to shine and have a blast while doing it.
    Just this week my junior son had to fill out his paper for classes for his senior year. The sad part of it was that he has taken most of the stuff that challenges him and he was going to take two classes that “just filled up space”. I then suggested something I normally wouldn’t have. I said – why not take a college course if you can. And that is what he elected to try for.

    But Billy schools are not the same as when we went and that is the sad part. The schools have managed somehow to take 90% of the “fun times” out of it. I can only speak for Lee Senior as that is where my child goes. I recall pep rally’s before every game. I recall spirit week. I recall dances – be it just normal or homecoming.
    Do you know that Lee Senior has only one pep rally- it was for the Southern Lee game. And they don’t hold dances at all except prom. Now, they elect a homecoming queen but she has no dance to attend. How bizarre is that.
    So, maybe why the kids are growing up so fast or in such a hurry is that the schools no longer offer many social things for them to participate in and that is sad indeed.

    I just would as for the school administration to think back to their high school days and ask themselves if these students don’t deserve the same memories.

    tammy hebert

  2. Today’s kids typically don’t see the fun in pep rallies and such because being antisocial is the norm. We used to pick on kids that weren’t involved; now, kids get picked on for being involved. Thank you, Nirvana.

  3. Hey, I heard there’s some losers with green hair hanging out down at the Dairy Queen! That’s our turf! Let’s go beat them up. I’ll get my letter jacket out of the closet.

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