One evening there was a knock on more dorm room door and it was a hometown guy who noticed looking at the info on my door that I was also from Chicago. He had to speak to me and decided to pick some information about what part of town I'm from. Well it kind of was left at what high school I went to.
His response to my answer was "DAMN!!!". I've been out of high school a few years now and I would still be amazed that this was the reaction I got from that name. It only means that my high school alma mater still has that rough reputation.
My old school hasn't changed their reputation one bit since I left. Unfortunately I haven't really kept up with how the school has been doing since I left. Not even the scores (once upon a time it was the IGAPs) that I would regularly follow in the papers every spring. When I check the scores my school was constantly amongst the lowest amongst the high schools.
I'm sure there was a story behind it. Were the teachers failing to instruct the kids on what they were expected to know? It might be partially that, but these days I have my own answer.
The issue was discipline. The school was a bit out of control. That meant that students might choose to curse out teachers or administrators who dared to take back control of their school. It might mean a student engaging in disruptive behavior by blurting out a profanity in the classroom or throwing food in a lunchroom causing a commotion. Even pulling a fire alarm.
Another aspect of discipline is largely unseen. We could ask what are the parents doing at home. For some they're not doing much, perhaps they let their children run wild when they really should be studying. Or perhaps for those who are doing something well it's not working whatever it is.
All the same my school wasn't the most ideal environment and sometimes I wish I had made some different choices in my youth. Perhaps different choices than my parents probably would've liked, but then it would've worked for me. If I had been a better student in those days, I probably could've been a Whitney Young student for example. Perhaps I was capable and if I had been a different more assertive person I'd have went for it.
All the same that's history now and at this moment the school's reputation is what it is now. Still and this will be the subject of another post on another time. I as an alumni of that school could do something to change the reputation? Better yet what could I do as an alumni to help create a better environment for future students?
When I write that post I would direct this to other alumni. It's pretty easy to graduate from a high school especially if it's an elite high school and then turn around and say life goes on. Then like I said that's another post for another time.