Education: Grades 7-12

This is part 2 of my educational history: junior and senior high school.

See Also: Education: Grades K-6 and Education: College

My junior high school years were spent at Arroyo Seco Junior High School. Those were my 7th and 8th grade years. Our mascot was the Conquistadors. I suppose school got more interesting in junior high school. Classrooms changed every hour and there were different teachers for each class. You had lockers to store your books and stuff. So different from elementary school. And more homework too. I could take “fun” classes, like photography, wood shop, metal shop, and electronics shop, in addition to math, English, history, etc. One spring, we got to go to a nearby swimming pool for a week for PE. That was fun. Almost every Friday for PE we ran cross country. That was my least favorite part of PE. One quarter I took French. I really liked it. For an assignment, we had a skit to perform. Everyone had the same skit; my group, decided to add to it. The skit was a customer ordering food at a cafe. Since we had three people in our group we needed a role for the third person. So Bobby was a police officer. After “eating” his meal, the customer refused to pay and tried to leave. So the waiter, me, called for the police officer to arrest the customer for not paying for his food. We got a good grade for that one.

Good ol’ Saugus High School, aka Cow Pie High, aka Fruit Loop High. It was built on the site of on old dairy farm and each of the buildings, at that time, were painted a different color so that it looked like a bowl of Fruit Loops cereal. Hence, the nicknames. Saugus High School’s mascot is the Centurions. Overall, I’d say I enjoyed high school.

I tried out for the high school baseball team as a freshman, but got cut. I didn’t even make it on the freshman team. I suppose I was disappointed; don’t remember. I skipped a year of baseball between Little League and high school. In hindsight, I should have played that year. But that’s a topic for a different article. But that’s when my baseball career ended, well, sort of.

In my sophomore year, I decided to try drama. I was cast as Jerome in South Pacific. It’s the part I auditioned for and got it. It wasn’t a big part. But I had a lot of fun doing it. I’m still friends with the people who played the main characters. My part had a bit of singing.

I had a few really good teachers in high school. Mrs. Portnoy (now Mrs. Granfors) taught English classes, particularly British Literature. Without a doubt, she was my favorite teacher in high school. She got pretty creative with assignments sometimes. For MacBeth, the assignment was to rewrite the lyrics to a popular song. The new lyrics had to be about the play. I rewrote the lyrics for Kansas’ “Point of Know Return.” I titled the song “(How Come) I Have to Kill the King.” I don’t remember my grade, but I remember she commented that she didn’t know the song. Kansas was a popular band at the time, but that song wasn’t one of the band’s singles at the time. For extra credit we could get up in front of the class and sing it. I didn’t. I had my reasons why not, mostly because I didn’t want to embarrass myself (and because I couldn’t find my lyrics). But in retrospect, there’s no way I could have done worse than Mike M. He did his song to Elton John’s “Yellow Brick Road.” He had an awful voice, but he had the courage and got the extra credit.

Mr. Garrison was also one of my really good teachers. He also taught English courses. He was really goofy, standing tables, using the podium as a prop and other antics. Together with Mrs. Portnoy, they made learning English fun most of the time. I still don’t like the novels of Thomas Hardy though.

Other teachers I actually liked even though they weren’t always easy and fun were Mr. Prelle (chemistry and physics), Mr. Pleta (Algebra), Mr.  Okasaki (various Science classes), Mr. Worley (Strategy) and Mr. Crummet (PE).

During lunch a few of us were allowed to play ping pong with the teachers. Other times we’d eat our lunch in Mr. Prelle’s chemistry/physics lab. There was a boy, John, who was a year or two behind us that would tag along. He was a good kid, but it was sometimes annoying that he’d always tag along.

I never thought I was all that popular in high school. I mean I had friends that I hung out with at school and away from school. And I had some classes with other kids all through high school that were friends but not really what I’d consider close friends. It wasn’t until I was a senior that I learned just how popular I was. I was voted the shortest senior guy, even though there were two guys that were shorter than me in my class. Who knew?

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