Sunday, September 19, 2010

School Experience as A Baby Boomer

I was talking the other day to a woman at my gym who was concerned about moving and the impact on her teenage son. She was worried that he would have trouble meeting friends because her son is very shy. I told her that I faced a similar situation when my husband took a job in the San Francisco area, but I knew that my son would make friends based on my own experience.

As a student, I went to two elementary schools, two junior (middle) schools, two high schools and two universities. At each change, I met new friends from the members of my class. And as I predicted, my son found friends at his new school and has maintained that connection beyond his high school graduation.

You may think that I attended all of these schools because my family moved a lot. You would then be incorrect. I was a part of the baby boom that occurred after World War II. The number of children that were born in the years following the war strained the public school system. Communities were faced with having to build more schools to accomodate the dramatic increase in children of school age.

I started kindergarten at Adair Avenue Elementary School. I don't have much recollection of my time at the school. I remember being in kindergarten and sitting on the floor while the teacher read us a story. I also remember coloring pussy willows with colored chalk and having to have a nap on a mat in a darkened room. First grade also left me with few memories.

I fell off the schoolbus regularly when we arrived at the school to the point that I had bandages on my knees on a regular basis and had scars on my knees for many years later. As it turns out I needed glasses. By first grade, we were starting to read. I had learned to read before I was in kindergarten because my mother was a former school teacher. But this was the first time that I was asked to read from the blackboard. So that year I ended up with eye glasses.

My brother had started kindergarten that year but was at New Hope School. This school had been a one-room school in what was a rural part of the county. It was scheduled to be demolished but was temporarily saved by the urgent need of a place to house kindergarden students. Adair Avenue kindergarten was full.

The next year, I was to begin my second grade. My 1st grade brother and kindergarten brother all started at Noble Avenue Elementary School. The construction on the school was not completed until after the school year began. The focus was on completing the classrooms and then finishing the remaining facilities within the building.

I was in the morning kindergarten class so was home by lunch time, but I had lunch in the school cafeteria when I was in 1st grade. In the early months of second grade, we had to bring our lunch and we ate lunch in our classroom. Before I ended my time in second grade, we had a cafeteria. It was at Noble Avenue School that I first experienced the multi-purpose room.

Noble Avenue School was my home from second through sixth grade. However, as I was about to enter junior high school, the school district needed to build another junior high school. I ended up at the new school rather than the school that I had expected to attend. This time most of my class from Noble Avenue were in the same school with me but I was placed into a special program at the school. The students in this program were kept separated from the other new junior high students. There were 72 of us divided into two homerooms. Since we came from several elementary schools, I found myself in a homeroom with about a quarter of the students I already knew.

My parents then moved us to California. I attended O A Peters Intermediate School. I made some friends some of whom ended up at the same high as I did. The end of that year, my parents bought a house that was in the same school district but would place me in another high school, This was the school from which I graduated.

During my time in high school, the district was building a 5th high school and had created a contest to name the 5th school. A few years after I graduated from high school, the district lines were redrawn so that my younger siblings ended up at another high school than the one from which I graduated.

Years later, many of the schools were closed because there were not enough students. But the one thing that I learned from my years as a student is that you will meet friends.

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