Thursday, August 19, 2010

MPT11--Ninth Grade

This is the 11th in a series of 15 posts recounting my childhood. (To see parts 1 through 10, click the label "MPT" in my sidebar.) Today's topic is Ninth Grade.
Ah, high school. The bad old days. ;-) Sorry, like many people, I didn't like high school. I went to an enormous high school. It was public but it was a top-notch school--best facilities, best teachers, a great education. However, it had a "best" mentality. You were golden if you were super smart, super athletic, super singer/actor/violinist etc. The rest of us, well it was hard to be mediocre.

I had been considered the smartest girl in my class through junior high--a big fish in a small pond, if you will. Then I hit high school, and while I was in honors-level classes, I got a C on my first English paper. Gasp! I immediately felt the pecking order and I was suddenly on the bottom.

Now, I've just finished up two weeks of downer memories with my cliques series, so I'm determined to share the best memories of each year through high school. Let's see what I can come up with from freshman year....

Good Things
My high school had an advisory system--it was basically "homeroom," the first (short) class you went to each morning. We had the same advisor and classmates for homeroom all 4 years. Oh and it was single-sex--so my advisor was a woman and the class was 20-some girls. I didn't love all the girls in my advisory, but I did like Mrs. Liebing, our advisor. And one girl (Janet) became a close friend, and my BFF Amy joined our advisory junior or senior year (changing advisories was unusual but there were special circumstances that allowed her to change and she chose to join me, hurray).

In fact, on the very first day of high school (I think it was the first day), I became friends with Meg in my advisory and we ended up in the same acting class that day and made plans to hang out after school. Woohoo! Meg didn't end up being a close friend, but it was great to get off to a good start. {I've always been an introvert so it took an extrovert like Meg to instigate friendship and plans. Thank you, Meg, for your gift of immediate friendship!}

Mr. Oetter (spelling?), my English teacher. He was young (and cute) and fun. I remember one day we were acting out a scene from the Odyssey and some character's testicles get cut off and suddenly he threw two little ping pong balls across the room as if they were you-know-what. Hilarious!

Freshman Girls Chorus. I don't know if I've mentioned in this series before that I love to sing. It's my favorite thing, I sing all the time, if you pass me in a store you might hear me singing along to whatever's playing on the sound system. In high school, I could sing pretty well. Again, I wasn't the best, but I could carry a tune and had (especially by junior and senior year) good tone quality. I started out a second soprano but my sophomore year moved to alto and I loved it. Even though I had enough upper range to be a soprano, I loved that altos provided the harmony, I love harmony, so that's where I stayed forever after. Go altos!

Anyway, back to 9th grade. Anyone could be in chorus during freshman and sophomore year (after that, choirs were by audition). Tons of girls sang as freshmen, such that there were like 5 classes of Freshman Girls Chorus. (You'd practice all the songs in your class and then come together as an enormous group to practice and sing together for concerts.) My choir director that year was Mr. Bachmann and he was awesome, I really liked him.

Since I went to this great big high school that had every program imaginable, we put on huge concerts. In the winter and spring we had huge concerts that included all the singers (at least 200 kids, I'm guessing) plus all the bands and orchestras. {I wish I could find a picture online. Nope, no luck.} Anyway, the semi-annual festival concerts were tons of fun.

What else? I took a fun Social Studies course in 9th grade called Comparative Political Systems--we studied the US, USSR (oh yeah, this was the Cold War baby), and China. The content wasn't super fun, but my teacher (Mr. Sheets) was, and my current-day BFF Karen was in that class. She had gone to another tiny junior high that my tiny junior high did "exchanges" with so I'd met her before and recognized her in CPS and that's how our friendship blossomed and today she is my closest friend. :-)

Ooh, I just had a naughty memory. In 9th grade you are required to take Study Hall, which every one hated. I think it was Karen (or maybe a different friend) who figured out different ways to get out of it. You could get a teacher to sign some slip letting you out of study hall and we would go to Mr. Sheets and asked him to sign these slips with our various excuses. He would always do it for us and this got us out of several study hall sessions, until I think someone caught on to us and we had to stop. Oh well. It's not like we left campus and sprayed graffiti. I think we just hung out in the rotunda or something. I can't even remember! Anything to get out of boring old Study Hall!!!!

Okay, I think that is the extent of my 9th grade (good) memories. For more 9th grade stories, be sure to check out Mommy's Piggy Tales. Tune in next week for sophomore year. Thanks!


Janette@Janette's Sage said...

I remember Advisory...but is wasn't just funny!
Oh I wished I would have tried choir..but I was dancing instead...our group started out small but grew and after my graduation the other group was disbanded...they took the old name and put it on the drill the tradition stayed.
Are those huge high schools just hard?
I love that God always brings that one special person to get us through the awkward parts of life...glad you had yours for a season...Enjoyed!! Wonderful to see each person youth story!

Jenny said...

I completely understand - I mentioned this week how grateful I was to have gone to a small school; I think I would have been miserable at a big school. Funny your teacher signed you out of class! We never had study hall, but I always thought it sounded fun!

Penny said...

How cool to meet your BFF in 9th grade.

Your first 3 paragraphs are some really stellar writing!

I'm an introvert too who is always grateful for the kind extrovert you asks me to tag along.

MommaHarms said...

ping pong balls - LOL - what an imaginative and brave teacher!!!!