Thursday, September 9, 2010

MPT14--Twelfth Grade

This is the 14th in a series of 15 posts recounting my childhood. (To see parts 1 through 13, click the label "MPT" in my sidebar.) Today's topic is 12th Grade.

I've been thinking about my senior year and I don't have a lot of good memories of that time. I think by then I was really hating high school. Once again, my goal will be to share the good stuff I can remember.


Okay, so my high school was huge (almost 3000 kids) but it was also an extremely "good" school and over 90% went on to college. {That's a really good percentage for such a large public school, I believe.} There was a team of about 12 college counselors that you'd meet with beginning junior year (one counselor was assigned to your advisory). Also, they arranged the school calendar so that Columbus Day weekend was 5 days (i.e. Monday was off for Columbus Day and the previous Thursday and Friday would be teacher institutes, making it a 5-day weekend). This was the weekend that seniors typically would use for visiting colleges.

Thus, my senior year, my mom and I set off for the Northeast to visit schools I was interested in. I can't remember every school we saw, because I believe we took another trip too, but we saw A Lot Of Schools. {I think this first trip was to Boston, New Hampshire and Vermont, the other big trip was to Pennsylvania schools, and I know I visited a school in Minnesota too--3 trips? I took for granted that my parents could afford to do all this traveling.} I enjoyed visiting all these colleges and really looked forward to going away to school. All the schools seemed really cool but eventually I narrowed my list to 6 schools that I applied to--2 "reaches," 2 "safeties," and 2 could-go-either-ways.

I've chosen not to list the names of the schools where I applied and eventually went just because I think that could be a distraction from my storytelling. They were all good competitive schools but not Ivy League or anything.

When the letters arrived in the spring, I got into 5 of the 6 schools, including my "first choice." Yippee! {Then my parents starting doubting my choice and encouraging another school. But I'm not going to tell that negative story. Suffice it to say, my college counselor helped me out and I decided to go to my first choice school--and I loved it, more on that next week.}


My favorite academic class senior year was AP US History. I love American History, I went on to be a History major in college and focused on US history. I had a great teacher whose name I can't remember, I even checked my yearbook and didn't recognize him among the Social Studies teachers. Maybe Mr. Rogan? The name and face are vaguely familiar (you know teacher yearbook photos are decades old). He had a lot of fun expressions like quoting Gertrude Stein's "There is no there there" (he loved that odd quote!). One of my favorite moments from that class was when he referenced Robert Frost's poem Mending Wall (that I'd had to read in like every English class for four years straight) and he quoted "Something there is that doesn't love a wall" and I replied "That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it" and like everyone in the class looked all impressed (or maybe that was just my imagination, LOL). You have to understand that I was a total introvert and "hid my light under a bushel," as my grandma might say, so this was a rare moment to "shine."

Physics with Mr. Applebaum--hated it. I didn't think he did much teaching, he expected you to just get it from the reading or whatever and I didn't, so that was hard. Not going to dwell.

Mrs. Kelly's AP English class. Hers was a dreaded class, she was known as a tough cookie. And she was tough--she expected us to read Anna Karenina in our spare time while reading Crime and Punishment for class. WTH?! {Nobody did, by the way. Before the big assignment was due, we were all reading the Cliff Notes and scrambling to rent the movie.}

French with {another lapse of memory and again the yearbook isn't helping, perhaps Mme. Lauerman?}. She had had my older (smarter) sister the year before so she gave me the benefit of the doubt. I was still lost. I remember having to do a presentation in her class and I did a lousy job. Happy memories, I'm supposed to be recounting happy memories!

Calculus with Mr. Ward. Unlike Applebaum, Ward actually taught and taught well a subject I thought I'd never get and yet somehow it clicked. By the way, it was in this class that I figured out I "liked" Brian from junior high, but by then he was no longer interested in me and we were just friends. In fact, our little cliques merged and we were actually hanging out at school a fair amount. Anyway.

Dance. {The yearbook actually helped this time. My senior year I had Mrs. Bauer, a young married woman, I think she'd had a baby the previous year, and my junior year I had Mrs. Wente, an elderly retired-ballerina-type.} I was in over my head in Advanced Intermediate (but hey, I was getting out of gym), my lack of flexibility had caught up with me, but I enjoyed it. I especially liked when we got into small groups (I was with Narai and Marion) to choreograph our own dance and we chose music from Cirque Du Soleil and had a fun time making up a routine.

Concert Choir
Concert Choir continued to be the highlight of my life at the time. I was thinking yesterday about some of the music we sang in our two years. We sang Battle Hymn of the Republic my senior year, I loved that. I know it was 12th grade we sang Mozart's Requiem. It must've been junior year we did Carmina Burana. I also loved the Aaron Copeland medley we did junior year. Smaller pieces I loved were How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place and The Lord Bless You which we sang at the end of each class as a beautiful farewell, aaaahhhh.

Again, Mr. Smith (our director) was the best person, he made us all feel special. In fact, I'm looking at my junior yearbook where he wrote, among other things, "Open up and show more of us how very special you are!" God bless him, he really had a huge impact on me.

He had all these great phrases about singing and life, especially "If you aren't the lead dog, the scenery never changes." {Think about that.} He urged us to sing loud, even if we made a mistake. And it really stuck with me as I sang in college among a bunch of kids who had not had Mr. Smith as a director, nobody would sing loud, so I'm belting out and making mistakes and I think in my quiet unassuming way I was a leader among the altos. (I hope, or maybe I just made a fool of myself. LOL)

That's it, that's all I remember (good) from senior year. I suppose I could ramble about graduation and its accompanying party, but there's too much bad mixed with the good, so I'll end here.

In summary, I worked hard, I studied A Lot. I remember I would come home from school and immediately start homework and would often stay up past my 10pm "bedtime" continuing to work. I cared about grades and getting into a good college. I studied hard, that's what I did. I was a nerd. I had friends I hung out with in school but very few I socialized with outside of school. I didn't get along with my family and I looked forward to moving away for college. So you can see why choir was the one bright light in all of this (and why I chose to focus on the happy memories).

Alright, next week is our last "piggy tale." I'll try to wrap up some of these themes. Meanwhile, head over to Mommy's Piggy Tales to read more about our 12th Grade adventures. Thanks for reading!

Just For Fun
Here's a video I found on youtube (that's not my choir) of one of my favorite Aaron Copeland tunes:


Janna said...

Glad you had Mr. Smith in your life to encourage you to blossom.

You had some hard classes! I never had physics.

Thanks for keeping up every week and sharing!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Oh how different our senior years were...I don't remember a college counselor at all...and if anyone went to visit colleges we didn't hear about it...and there wasn't days off for that! I remember hearing where everyone was going and our principal had received the an award from the president, so I think if you graduated from our high school you were a shoe in for most of the schools...I am sure not the schools you applied to!

You can tell you enjoyed studying and I enjoyed social life...I am sure I took classes, but can't remember any of them....LOL My head was too full of marriage!!

God's plan for each of our lives is so different and His restoration and taking the bad and producing good is still the bottom line.

I love you sang in choir...I would love to go back and do that.

Blessings...we are almost finished...what does your final post have in store?

Jenny said...

I wish I had been just a bit more studious. I loved my college experience so I probably wouldn't change anything...but I wish I'd felt or that someone would have made me feel that going far away to school was an option. In my small town, rarely did anyone go away more than a few hours. I like what your grandma and Mr. Smith said.

Ginny Marie said...

I was in Concert Choir, too, and just loved it! Our director was very quirky; if we sounded bad, he would tell us something like we made him want to chew his keys? I'm not sure I'm remembering that right! You are so lucky you had a great teacher for AP History...I took AP Government, and just hated it! But Physics was okay. So much depends on the teacher, doesn't it?

It sounds like you had a lovely Senior year!