Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Academy...

ok, I didn't actually win anything. But one of the commenters on another blog wrote a note complimenting me on my erudition. It was kind of a back-handed compliment, in that it was qualified by something like "...for a Wise County person".

AND I should point out that this person was quite possibly being entirely ironic, and if not it was probably a family member or close friend using a pseudonym.

But in any event. Do I mention this to blow my own horn? Well, as a Rap Star, I certainly have no qualms against self-promotion. But in this particular case, I mention it not for purposes of self-glorification, but because it provides me with an opportunity to give props to good ol' DHS (school that we love, I sing unto theeee!).

This school has been on the receiving end of many, many criticisms over the years (most recently, the ridiculous flap over the so-called "leadership class"). These criticisms are probably well-deserved, at least in large part. Some of the things that have been done there are astoundingly dumb.

However. Despite the grumblings of Decaturites, and complaints from me and my DHS classmates while in attendance there, and further despite the thinly disguised slings and arrows directed at small-town public education by many ostensibly well-educated persons I have encountered throughout my adulthood, I have since leaving there come to realize that I did, in fact, receive a first class high school education.

Would I have learned more at an East Coast Ivy-League feeder school (Andover, Exeter, etc)? Perhaps (although there is absolutely no possible way I would not have been kicked out of those places had I pulled some of the same stunts I pulled at DHS). But my experience has shown me that I should be proud of my DHS education.

For example: I attended a tremendously competitive university for my undergrad studies. In this place, the just-barely-unofficial goal of most of the first two years' worth of classes is to fail you out of there. They have far too many students, and they are counting on high attrition rates to weed people out. Combine this with the fact that, back then, I had somewhat of a, shall we say, lackadaisical attitude toward my studies and a terribly misplaced sense of entitlement, and it would come as no surprise to me or anyone if I had been one of the attritionees.

But the fact that I did not flunk out, and did in fact graduate from that place, stands as a shining tribute to the education I received at DHS. So, for that, Ms. A_ _ _ _ _, Ms. E_ _ _, Mr. I_ _ _ _ _, and yes, even you Mr. J_ _ _ _ _ P _ _ _ _ _, wherever you are today, thank you most sincerely.


Gleemonex said...

Hey, they did enough for me that I got into an Ivy! DHS was a fine school, at least back in our day -- special shout-outs to Ms. A_ _ _ _ _, Ms. E_ _ _, Coach P_____, Ms. F_______, Ms. B______, and several others I'm sure I'll think of later. And I was such an insufferable shit in HS too -- Miss President of All Activities, Miss I Play By The Rules But Lots of Them Don't Apply to ME, etc. I do wish there'd been more AP classes, because DAMN, was I bored a lot of the time (the place was geared toward the middle, without a lot of lookout for the top) -- but even that sort of forced us to make our own path. And screw Exeter, etc. -- I met a lot of people from those schools at college, and they were, almost to a man, UNBEARABLE.

Weeee pledge our best foooor yoooour Vic-to-reeeeeeeeee....

Kingfish said...

Speaking for the middle and NOT the top that were mostly made up of sheep that bought into the program, I thoroughly enjoyed Decatur High School. I am not sure the term "first class" applies. I can assure you my deficit in Spanish doomed me to take 8 fucking semesters of it in college. EIGHT!
I still cannot speak it and can barely read it properly. I do not recall how I earned those credits but all i can say is, I did it. I could have solved the mysteries of multi-dimensional space time theory with the sheer brain effort it took me to conjugate a fucking verb 29 ways. I am just like Uncle Rico accept if i could go back in time, I would shoot that bastard Hernan Cortez before he left the dock in Spain.
I do have a point to make, other than the backhanded criticism of an entire language. It is just that my "tier 3" education has an odd way of getting in the mix. Other than the rowdy times, I think my brief time at DHS was a great time in life. We went there before Decatur started to boom in enrollment. The faculty and staff had little turnover and they respected the students. They were fun.
I think today it is much different. Decatur was what we thought a small town was, and now I would argue that while still small, it is starting to lose its identity in alot of ways. The new modern education tactics have slowly stricken that school with the downside of State institutionalization.
They do not teach children to think anymore. They teach them how to be good test takers, which is obviously an improvement over the Dartmouth method of public education that worked for 160 years....NOT! The current situation serves the greater purpose. They, and you know who that is I hope, want more followers and less leaders. Followers are easier to corrupt and control.

Rant over. Put shit back! Shop parties rule!

HHL said...

Kingfish, I agree 100%. Back in the day, they taught critical thinking skills there. Now (as I understand it), it's just memorize and regurgitate.

As I have posted before:

Colonel Frank Slade: "Now as I came in here, I heard those words... "cradle of leadership". Well, when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And it has fallen here, it has fallen! Makers of men, creators of leaders, be careful what kind of leaders you're producing here."

bgirl said...

Is it possible that DHS had already begun its downward spiral just a year or two after you left? I enjoyed high school, but it IN NO WAY prepared me for anything at all, except acting haughty and believing that the world is full of morons. Many of the teachers really were trying their best to inspire and challenge, but it was usually followed by a TASP/TAS/Whateverthefuck standardized test.

Gleemonex said...

The boom in enrollment began sometime in the mid-to-late 90s, I think -- DHS is now more than double the size it was when I was there (I graduated with a class of 101) -- and I think that has a lot to do with it. Plus, I might be wrong, but TASP and its ilk were introduced just after I left, so "teaching to the test" probably geared up in earnest around then, too.

Kingfish, my DHS Spanish education, despite the best efforts of L_ _ _ _ _ W_ _ _ _ _ _ _ to destroy in Spanish II and III what excellent foundation had been laid by Ms. L_ _ _ in Spanish I, was enough to have me test out of two semesters of the required four in kollege ... you got hosed, dude!

HHL said...

but... the world is full of morons! :)

Yeah, I must have preceded you by a couple of years. We didn't have any of those crappy tests, at least that I recall.

HHL said...

OH, and... I should mention that not long after I left, the best teacher I had there, who taught a senior honors class, was demoted, and then later run off, for failing to fit into some neat little box they decided teachers needed to fit into.

So, like I said, some of the things done by the administration there have been just astoundingly stupid.

Kingfish said...

I posted some nonsense on my hapless blog because my rant was too long this morning, but I do have a point of humor.

DHS will rue the day it let a certain Assistant Principal named J. W____ leave its employ. None can compare to the presence of plastic knockoff fancy cowboy boots, complete with Wrangler polyester pants, pearl snap Panhandle Slim shirt, and clip on "fat" tie circa 1975.
It made me laugh then, and I just can't help but laugh to think that we had such a powerful role model of discipline in our midst.
The day I got busted for the "cup o beans" throwing incident with the other hellions will always rank as a defining moment in my youth.
Every time I watch "Breakfast Club" I think that John Hughes modeled the Vice Principal character out of J.W.

HHL said...

BUWAHAHAHAH! point of humor, indeed!!!

Kingfish said...

One other thing, one of my favorite lines from the above mentioned movie, "Is Barry Manilow aware that you raided his wardrobe closet." In some way that applied to J dub, maybe Howdy Doody.

Anonymous said...

I've always felt I got a decent education out of DHS (Clean fighting for the white...). But I think a lot of that depended on trying to get a decent education out of it. I think lots of people slide by without looking for it & then feel like they missed something once it's too late. Of sourse, teachers like Mr. I_____, Mrs. E___, Ms. B______, etc., made it easier & way more fun to actually try to learn things.