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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What kind of high school student were you?

If you've read GOING TOO FAR...I seemed to people like Goody-Two-Shoes Tiffany, but I felt like rebellious Meg.

I was drum major of the marching band, obviously. I was editor of the yearbook. I was valedictorian. Unlike the other chicks posting here, I was as good at math and science as I was at English. Partly because my mom had been a math and chemistry double major in college, and this was expected of me. Partly because my older brother was valedictorian and had made a nearly perfect score on the SAT, and I was not going to be shown up.

But if you were to look at my behavioral record, there would be a pattern, starting in the 3rd grade, of me getting called into the principal's office for mouthing off to a teacher. When this happened, I was always outraged at some injustice perpetrated by the teacher, real or imagined, sometimes against me but more often against somebody else, or against ALL OF US. I was a crusader. This continued through grade school, through junior high, through high school, and by my senior year I was visiting the principal's office often and wishing the whole experience could just be OVER. I am 100% certain those folks breathed a sigh of relief when I made that valedictorian speech and they were rid of me.

This makes my high school experience sound like torture, but it wasn't. I had a BLAST because I had the best friends imaginable. My town had population of about 15,000, and it was isolated, set on a beautiful lake in Alabama but lost in the forest between Montgomery and Birmingham. Each grade had about 300 students, which included EVERYBODY, from the children of minimum-wage textile mill workers to the children of the corporate vice presidents who lived on the lake. There was something about people being from such genuinely different worlds that made the more superficial differences--whether you were a geek or a jock or whatever--not matter so much. For the most part people got along. It was a nice place to live. And, as you can imagine, a rich source of material for conflict in a YA novel.


Jan Blazanin said...

I envy the diversity in your high school. In the small Iowa town where I grew up we were about as homogeneous as you could get.

BTW, I was salutatorian of my class. Drat those math grades!

zac@lonely married women said...

What part of Iowa?