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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Andy's Angles: By the Numbers

I've been yammering recently about the 40th anniversary of my high school graduation.

One of my favorite junior high school teachers passed away, and that started a discussion, with a high school friend, of teachers I liked and the ones I despised.  The hate was mutual.  It prompted me to do a little digging.  Above is my final high school report card.

Some things need explaining.

Mr. Dudek's sociology elective was always entertaining.  I used to love simply throwing the bull with Dudek and talking about politics.  You have to remember, this was 1978 and 1979, as the Jimmy Carter presidency was crumbling.  I lost touch with Mike Dudek.  If I remember properly, he left teaching and started working with labor unions.  I'll never forget what he told me about my writing.  He said I had the ability to express two thoughts in one sentence.  Writing tight helped when I entered the news business.

Mr. Bartkowski, the Algebra instructor, was blessed with a lot of common sense.  He knew my classmates and I were not headed to MIT.  He focused on things we would actually use upon graduation, and I thank him for that.

Stanley Evans in English might be the only universally loved teacher I ever encountered.  He was a great guy.  Mrs. Evans and I exchanged notes after Stan's passing.  I still keep it close by and I cherish it.  His class was more than literature. Stan knew there were no Shakeapeares in our bunch.   He taught us how to write letters and resumes.  We practiced job interviewing skills.  We wrote and gave book reports.  The public speaking certainly was a help in the years to come.

Jerry Preschutti taught POD, or Problems of Democracy.  It was like a civics course, and it was another one that came in really handy after graduation.  As you can see, I was pretty good at it.

I struggled with Patrick Coleman's Physics course.  He was from Ireland.  He didn't get us.  We didn't get him.  Pat Coleman was a perfectly fine teacher and a nice man.  Unfortunately, he and I were not on the same wave length. pardon the pun,  and you can see what happened.  Coleman quit half way through the year and was replaced by Mrs. Babarsky.  We got along well, and you can see the results.  My grades shot up.

You'll get a major laugh out of the lower right section of the report card, in "teacher comments."  #10 "GETS TO MUCH HELP FROM OTHERS."  #12 "ABSENT TO OFTEN."  Yes, that was Mid Valley, vintage 1979.  They couldn't even get the report cards right, and those errors were there for years.

Check the upper right of the report card.  17 days absent!  That was a lot, and those were just the days I was caught taking.  There were several others, thanks to sloppy record keeping, that never made the books.  If that wasn't enough, I snuck out really early plenty of times.  Yes, I was a scamp.  On the other hand, I was efficient.  I accomplished 180 days of learning in about 145.

By the way, I only missed three classes in four years of college, and one was for my grandmother's funeral.

Always remember one of my famous phrases:  I liked learning.  I didn't like school.  Big difference.

My grades were good.  Not great.  Imagine what I could have done if I actually showed up once in a while.