Not Your Mother’s High School


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My sons attend the school from which I graduated, so on the one hand there’s this unique connection between my past  as a student, my present  as a parent and their presence there as students now.

For example, a few of the teachers that taught me in middle school 20 something years ago are now teaching them. And I’ve talked before about how some of the students when I was there are now their friends’ parents and the youth league basketball coaches. My past touches their present.

But on the other hand, the school they are experiencing is nothing at all like the school I experienced.

Today, WCA is bigger and has fancy new facilities, but more than that the growth in the student body has facilitated the addition of new programs, namely football. I wasn’t around when football was added but I have a feeling that it was football that changed everything.

There were always the rumors of us getting football way back then, but the size of the student body wasn’t large enough to support a team. It was kind’ve a cart before the horse problem in that you had to have a certain number of students to sustain a football team, but without a football team the school was less attractive an option for some families. I mean, we are in the south; people here love their football.

At some point after I left the school the school started a team and the first thing built on the new campus wasn’t classrooms but — you guessed it — a football stadium. One could say the priorities were skewed, but I don’t think so. I think the success of competitive sports, especially football, was an important factor in growing the school to the size where the leaders wanted it, where it could sustain all of the beneficial things the school wanted.

With football came a marching band, a flag corps, a dance team, pep rallies, bonfires, and the annual homecoming celebration  moved from basketball, which was previously the largest sports program, to the more traditional football.

This means that when I go back to my alma mater for “homecoming” it doesn’t feel like going back. It feels new, at the same it feels familiar.

I was there for homecoming events last week and as the marching band played and the bonfire raged, I commented to several of the other alums who are now also parents of students that this isn’t anything like the school we went to. Oh, no, of course not, they agreed.

The school we went to was good. But this is better. I’m a little jealous for what I didn’t have, but glad my sons get to experience the best of both worlds and that I can be along for the ride.

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