The hometown newspaper just ran a lengthy multi-part series on my alma mater, Highland Park High School in Topeka. It’s a well-done piece of journalism.
My high school was not a particularly good one. There’s no other way to say it. Classes were mostly geared to the lowest common denominator, which is even lower than you might imagine. It’s just a tough part of town; unlike any of the other six Topeka schools, there is no segment of the student body that comes from anything that would exceed middle class, and even that segment would be quite small overall. When you have that kind of socio-economic cross-section, there are some things that come with the territory. For example, my high school now has a well-used daycare. That didn’t exist when I was there, but it probably should have.
I feel bad, knocking my school and my hometown, something I do more than I should. This series highlighted a lot of the problems there, but also some of the good things about coming from a place where life is a bit harder. It made me feel a sense of pride about my school that I hadn’t felt in a long time. But still, it’s a tough place, and not a place I would send my kids if we lived in Topeka. Which, of course, will never happen.
My 20th reunion is coming up in August, and it looks like I’m going to go. I’ve never been to a reunion before, but I anticipate a strange and memorable weekend.