Tuesday, May 24, 2016

138. Conserve School: Civil War

My high school graduating class was divided. It was a roughly 50-50 split between those who still cared about Conserve School enough to shape the school to the mission they wanted, and those who felt betrayed by the mission.

It was the fourth year of Conserve. A few waves of original teachers had resigned after our sophomore year, and another group left after our junior year. Classes were shuffled, starting times were moved earlier (this seems to still be a major sticking point among grads. Me? I didn’t care.), and there was just general uncertainty over what the school should become.

The word “administration” signified all of our frustrations with the school. We loved our teachers, but we hated the administration.

I remember being mad over things too, but I don’t remember exactly what my senior year. The school was new, so I can understand the experimenting with things. I know we hated the use of RA’s my junior year, but when I talk with staff now, I can surely understand why the switch was made. (I can understand a few of the later classes becoming more upset with the school changing the way it did business.)
I may be exaggerating and pigeonholing people in my memories here, but there was a palpable divide on our senior trip. It showcased itself on the two busses we took to our senior trip up in the UP. There was palpable tension on the bus. I think I even remember a little bit of controversy regarding the chaperones on the trip (meaning the teachers.) I think it all got worked out, but I don’t think we ever had a kumbaya moment together. Oh well.

I was on the group who thought the best way to change things would be to remain optimistic about it all and raise our concerns in proper channels instead of lashing out. I’m naturally an optimist, so I kept wanting to make my experience mine, and not let the ebbs and flows of senior year affect me.

For the first few years after graduation, there was still that sense of anger. It seemed like I had to block off the first 45 minutes of every conversation with a classmate and devote it to getting things off our chest about Conserve.

I don’t see classmates all that much anymore. From the Facebook sense of things, I think many of us have moved on with our lives, at least in terms of not being as angry with the school anymore, or at the very least, just becoming numb and indifferent about it.

I’d like to see some of my friends all in the same place again. I think it’d be good for a big contingent to go back there, even if it’s just for a weekend. I’d like to see where we’ve all ended up and how we’ve dealt with that aspect of our lives. I wonder if everyone else has had the same conversations I’ve had about my high school experience.

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